[CF Devotionals] 2011-08-23 - The Piercing of Skin and The Shedding of Blood

"He personally carried away our sins in His own body on the cross, so we can be dead to sin, and live for what is right. You have been healed by his wounds!" (1 Peter 2:24, NLT)
And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. EPH 3:18-19 NLT

When I was admitted to ICU with pneumonia, their first task was to get two working IV lines in me. I have one good vein in my left arm, and the rest in my arms and hands are really small. There was an awful lot of poking and prodding. The nurses try once, and if they can't get it, they call in the IV team to do it, whether its an IV or a blood draw. The IV team got called in several times. They all took their time, trying to find the best available veins, and were very compassionate, but it's just an unpleasant process. The IV lines had to be taken out and restarted in another area several times while I was in the hospital, because they would stop working, so I went through that ordeal more than once.

And those were just one part of the needle issue. Over the next several days, they had to draw tons of blood to test me for everything under the sun. They didn't use the IV lines for this, since those were for administering meds. So, again, poking, prodding, and uncooperative veins. They didn't just get a bunch at one time, and run all the tests, either. They would have to come and stick me again to get the blood needed for whatever new test was being ordered.

Besides taking plenty of my "regular blood," at least twice a day for the time I was in ICU, they had to check my arterial blood gases to see if I was being properly oxygenated. That was the worst part. My finger had to be pricked, too, to make sure some of the meds I was taking weren't giving me blood sugar issues. I also had to get two actual shots, one in each "hip." If a med tech or nurse ever uses that word with you, be forewarned that it's not actually your hip they're talking about.

I was very scared about the whole needles/pain issue, but quickly realized I was going to have to accept it as an uncomfortable reality until further notice, and just deal with it, one needle at a time. I guess another way to say that is that I submitted to what I knew had to happen. Jesus did the same thing in the Garden of Gethsemane, and again, when he was being beaten and then nailed to the cross. He bled, and nails pierced him.

And yet, the reason was so different. The interventions that were provided to me at the hospital saved my life. I wasn't exactly happy about them, but they were necessary to change what was going on within my body. I knew that, and it helped me deal with the pain and unpleasantness. In Jesus' case, the blood and pain were about punishment and death. Those who took my blood were compassionate; that was not the case for Jesus. He was mocked and scorned and beaten mercilessly. Fortunately, He knew there was a greater purpose. He voluntarily went through all that, including physical death, to then be brought back from the dead and give us eternal life. He wasn't sick. He didn't need to do any of that for Himself. But He knew He needed to do it for us, and He did. Freely. Voluntarily. He submitted to the Father's will.

I can recall thinking that whatever happened to me was in God's hands. I didn't want to die, but if that happened, I knew I would be okay in eternity. Jesus' shed blood made it possible for me to know that, even as blood was being taken from me. After going through a few days of needles and blood draws, I have a greater appreciation for His painful sacrifice, but it is only the smallest glimpse of understanding, in terms of everything He gave up for me. I'm even more thankful, now that I have this tiny bit of perspective. Medical interventions might have saved my life for now, but Jesus' intervention has saved me for eternity.

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