Blood Needed

Some time ago there was a patient who was a few days past his heart surgery. He had been doing fine but his nurse called me and said he was dizzy and didn’t feel like walking.

I went up to his room and chatted with the nurse. His blood pressure was fine and he felt fine otherwise. I was a bit puzzled and then I thought, perhaps he is anemic. People’s blood counts can drop sometimes after surgery.

So we asked the lab to come draw some blood to check. When the results of the test were back the nurse called me.

“His hematocrit is 22,” she said.  “Yesterday it was 27.”

“That’s it!” I exclaimed. “I’ll see if I can get to the surgeon.  He needs blood.”

The surgeon was in the operating room, which meant he should not be disturbed lightly. I put on my mask and puffy blue cap and slipped in through the operating room doors. The doors to the operating room are designed without handles so the  surgeons and staff can back into the room without touching anything that could mar the sterility of their clean, dripping hands.

I walked into the operating room, a sea of blue drapes and shiny metal instruments.  I checked with the nurses to make sure that it was not a bad time to interrupt the surgeon. I circled the room being careful not to touch anything blue, until I reached the head of the patient’s bed, where the surgeon would see me.

The surgeon is intensely focused on the patient under the the drapes. I try to keep my questions focused and relevant and quick. Thankfully this was a straightforward situation.

“Give him two units of blood,” the surgeon said.

I left the operating room and put in the orders and the nurse called up the life-giving red bags from the blood bank in the basement.

How like a post-op surgery patient we often are in our lives! How dizzy we get with our crazy schedules, our anxieties, our fears! How troubled we become when we become our own idols, our own gods!

For us too, the answer is blood…in this case, the blood that dripped from the veins of Christ Jesus.

The blood I ordered for the patient that day came from the veins of another human being who took time out of his or her day to walk into the hospital and donate. They took the risk of becoming dizzy themselves, and probably ate cookies from the blood bank’s stash to recover.

Wouldn’t it be so wonderful if we could simply give other people the blood of Christ in this way!

But we can tell others. We can express the peace and happiness we feel when we realize that the blood of Jesus makes us perfect despite our sins. We can tell them that as we learn to take our sins and accept his blood as the sacrifice for them, that nagging dizziness of life begins to disappear.

And perhaps, the best way to share this blood, is when we are like Christ and donate the very source of our lives to others!

When, like a blood donor, we give up our time, we are sharing the story of Christ. When, like a blood donor, we give up our energy, we are sharing the story of Christ. Sometimes we are tired, so tired of helping people, of dealing with their troubles and fears and dysfunctions. But this too is sharing the story of Christ.

And in my opinion– although I do it too rarely– when we donate blood at the hospital, we are also sharing the story of Christ! I have witnessed surgeries where people received unit after unit after unit after unit of blood products and later walked out of the hospital. And certainly my dizzy patient on that day was able to recover much more quickly because of somebody else’s blood.

Who would ever have guessed that God would use the mystery of blood for his plan of salvation! What mysterious ways God uses to bring glory to Himself and bring us peace!

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Revelation 1:5-6

May we all learn to receive and share this love!

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