May 31, 2007

Life is in the Blood

Update: Yesterday, Bob’s angiogram revealed a 90% blockage in a large carotid artery in his right ventricle. The doctors inserted a wire up his arm and into his heart, injected dye, and found the culprit. Then, using the same vein, they inserted a 3.5 x 25 mm stent which brought the blockage to 0%. He was conscious, felt the process, and when the blood began to flow, he said he had instant energy. He was up and walking right away, and felt great for the rest of the day. --- This morning, he just called and the doctor has discharged him. I can pick him up before lunch.

When something like a heart attack threatens your life or the life of someone you love, many people do a personal assessment. Our son read the pile of material on heart health in Bob’s room Tuesday and said, “I need to change the way I live.” Our neighbor, who is a medical doctor, said the same thing. The general manager where Bob works came in and he too said that everyone was rethinking their lifestyle. If Bob, who doesn’t drink or smoke and takes good care of himself can have this happen, what about me?

Interesting that my devotions this morning are about the life-giving blood of Jesus Christ. In fact, I’m amazed at the parallels between this crisis and the spiritual crisis of being convicted of sin (the attack, which reveals our weak and helpless condition) and the solution offered by God. In the heart attack, blood is blocked from nourishing the heart muscle and it starts to die. Blood thinners break up the clots that cause the blockage, and opening the artery with stents allows the blood to flow freely.

The Bible says that our “life is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11) and “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sin” (Hebrews 9:22). God determined that sin’s punishment is death, and since life is in the blood, the shedding of blood would atone for sin. He promised His people that He would send a Perfect Sacrifice, but in the meantime they must wait for Him, trust God, and offer Him unblemished lambs to atone for their sin.

Then Jesus came. He is that Perfect Sacrifice, “the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). When He shed His blood, that blood became the means by which God could forgive sin and give new life.

1 Peter 1:18-19 says, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

The other thought that makes this verse so relevant to me today is “the empty way of life.” It is certainly part of the human condition, and part of what I (and others who know my husband) think about this week. When this happened, almost nothing else mattered.

Personally, I must connect with God each morning and throughout the day, but other than eating and sleeping, life’s plans, responsibilities, and activities are on hold. They lose all importance, and while some of them may not be empty, this week it seems much easier to see what falls into that category.

On Monday I thought about the ‘stuff’ in our house that we don’t use. If we don’t use it, there is no reason to have it. Yesterday, the hospital nutritionist came by and gave us a pretty good rating, but she noted several areas that should change. As I read through thedon’t eat very often' list I thought, If we don’t need it, there is no reason to have it in our house. It’s not hard to imagine the two major chores that just got added to my to-do list.

I wish sin could be purged the same way; just put it on the list and toss it. However, that is not God’s method. 1 John 1:7 says, “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.”

Without the blood, sin has the power to cut me off from God and the life that He gave me, and even destroy me. But as He reminded me yesterday, when He makes me aware of sin in my life and in my heart, I’m to rush to the ER (Eternal Redeemer), confess my need and get an accurate diagnosis. Then He, the Great Physician, reminds me today that life depends on blood—my blood for physical life, and the precious blood of His Son for forgiveness, cleansing and eternal life.

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