If you’ve been following the news recently, then you know that with the introduction of a third vaccine into the public health arsenal, health care providers are now talking about the possibility of marked improvement, perhaps even the coveted “herd immunity,” by the summer. While pharmaceutical companies have been ramping up their production of the two existing vaccines, the emergence of this third one has been touted by the experts as a “game changer.”
That term, “game changer,” has become more commonplace in recent days. Borrowed from the sports world where someone either joins a team or comes off the bench to change the dynamics of the competition, we now hear the word bandied about as well in business and education and, of course, health care. A “game changer” has come to mean any person or group that significantly alters the way things are done.
In this season of Lent, I’ve also come to see the application of the term for our faith journey. These days prior to Easter invite us to look at ourselves honestly and openly. When we do, we see all too clearly how the trajectory of our lives is not one we can trust to experience the abundance for which God created us. Our tendency to follow our own hearts puts us at odds with our Creator and lands us in places where we are forced to suffer the consequences. In other words, a good bit of the trials and challenges in life we bring upon ourselves; and, as a result, we stand no chance whatsoever of experiencing anything that resembles victory.
But the good news of the gospel is that God sent Jesus to make atonement for our sins. As God’s Messiah, Jesus entered our world to display God’s power, teach us God’s purposes, and ultimately offer his life “as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Without question, the cross is a “game changer” for us, and embracing it releases us from having to justify ourselves before God, which is a lost cause for sure, to being reconciled to Him through Christ so that “all things become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Speaking of the “game changing” vaccines, each offers an impressive percentage of protection against serious illness or death from COVID, even though none offers it totally. Nonetheless, the odds of their effectiveness are so high that we have every reason to anticipate “normalcy” is only months away. On the other hand, Calvary assures us that all of our sins will be forgiven so that we can anticipate a future that is even better than normal! The only thing that could keep us from that future is our reluctance to accept it. While we might avoid taking any of the vaccines and still experience herd immunity because of others having taken it (a decision I am in no way recommending), reconciliation with God only happens when we trust in Jesus, each of us for himself or herself.
Who knows how much longer the game of life will go on? There are no guarantees. This is why the Bible speaks of today as “the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). So, if your “game” needs to be stepped up a notch or two, don’t try to do it in your own power. Trust Jesus to do for you what you’ll never do for yourself. He’s already given of himself for you in a “game changing” way. Trust in him and you will see how truly “faith is the victory that overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4).
“When you were dead in your sins…God made you alive with Christ” (Colossians 2:13).