For 26 years I have volunteered to let someone stick me with a needle and remove some of the precious fluid that keeps me alive.
Thanks to Robbie Short, who needed an Eagle Scout project in 1986, I’m a blood donor. I was his guinea pig, so to speak. And after I gave blood for the first time, Robbie received his Eagle Scout award, and I became a life-long blood donor.
The last few years I’ve been a “specialty donor.” That’s because I seem to be an over achiever when it comes to platelet production. Donors must have a minimum platelet count of 150. Mine was 316 last month.
When I donate platelets I’m connected to an automated machine that collects approximately 10% of the billions of platelets in my body. The whole process takes about 2 hours.
Once the needle is in my arm and the machine starts whirring, I begin to pray for the “whoever” who will be receiving my platelets. Since a literal part of me is going to help a cancer, cardiac, or transplant patient, I can be confident that my prayers are needed even though I will never meet the person who benefits from my donation.
|Painting by William Hole|
It happens that I have an appointment to donate Easter week. The analogies are obvious and plentiful:
- I donate a portion. Jesus sacrificed all.
- I sit in sterile comfort, He agonized on a cross.
- I am praised, He was reviled.
- I have minimal discomfort. He died.
- I pray my blood will help a few people live….His blood brought life eternal.
When I give blood on Good Friday, I’m going to continue my practice of praying for the “whoever” who will receive my donation. But I won’t stop there. I plan to have both my Bible and my heart open, praising Jesus for loving me to death and back, a “whoever” desperately in need of his life-giving blood.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)
“Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we're at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!” (Romans 5:9-11 MSG)