There has been a lot of talk of late in the Australian media about a possible vaccine for Covid 19. How should we react to this discussion?
The optimists will be thrilled that a way out of the pandemic is just around the corner. The pessimists will dismiss it as rhetoric from politicians keen to deflect attention away from the continued critical medical and economic challenges. The stock market, it seems, has already decided. Despite the economy being in tatters the stock market is only slightly down on the record highs of last year. The logic follows that the market has already priced in a vaccine. The market seems convinced that the economic shocks will be steep but temporary, that a vaccine is close, and that the world will soon return to normality.
The optimist, the pessimist and the investor (who has already priced in a vaccine) share the same delusion- they are all sure that they know what is going to happen in the future. Or to be more charitable, they are all certain that they think they know the future. Or to say it another way, they are all punting on their own view of what they think will happen.
There is, however, an alternative way of thinking. Laced with a hint of humility it might be simpler to accept that we actually don’t know if or when a vaccine might be ready for use. We can be hopeful. We can remain positive. We can support our leaders who are convinced that a vaccine is a great Plan A. But we need a Plan B as well.
Plan B might include more research into treatments. Plan B might include balancing economic and health concerns. Plan B might mean accepting we are simply not going to be able to hug our grandchildren on the other side of the country for quite a while. Plan B might include being thankful for all we have learnt about managing this virus. Plan B might include resourcing our medical heroes for a marathon not just a sprint. Plan B might include being flexible and adaptable to the windy path in front of us, wherever it may lead.
Faith has often been criticised as being a crutch for the weak. I would rather describe faith as being like a good pair of joggers. The road ahead is uncertain. There may be rocks and occasionally broken glass. At times the path will be clear and well-lit and at other times the path will be steep with poor visibility. We need all the support we can get. Strength, protection and confidence are needed as we stride out even when the path remains uncertain and unpredictable.
Faith does not promise that it will be alright. Faith rejects all political messiahs. Faith steps into the darkness and trusts the goodness of the creator, the guidance of the good shepherd and the sustaining strength of the enduring spirit.
Faith hopes that tomorrow the sun will shine, but has a raincoat at the ready for a possible storm.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5