Giving Blood

Dear Diary,

Gave blood today for little Jack T. Lots of people from the church are there serving, giving blood, chatting, laughing. First I fill out a questionnaire about the purity of my blood. Have I taken this drug or that drug, been exposed to AIDS, etc. One question is “Have you ever been born in: Mexico, South America or Central America?” I don’t think I ever was, but I might have been.

After filling out the form, a pleasant lady reviews my questionnaire then leads me to what reminds me of a padded lounge chair with an arm rest. A professional young woman swabs my arm with a brown liquid to sterilize the area where they will insert the needle. Then she removes a new syringe from a package. I’m slightly nervous, but I see an elderly lady giving blood a few feet from me and she seems fine, so I figure if she can do it I can do it. I just don’t want to start screaming like a woman or pass out in front of everybody.

“Little pinch” says the girl and sticks the needle in my arm. It’s definitely more than a pinch, but only lasts about 2 seconds. I lie there comfortably. Mary B. takes a photo of me and others come and poke fun at me, asking if I’m going to make it. After 15 minutes, a young man carefully removes the needle, applies a bandage, seals up the bag of my blood, and instructs me not to have any coffee for the rest of the day. Right. I’m heading to Starbucks as soon as I leave.

Gary D. escorts me to the snack room, ready to catch me should I faint. I cap off my ordeal with a couple glasses of orange juice, a sloppy joe and some kettle-cooked potato chips. Becky, Jack’s mom, thanks me, as do numerous others, and I congratulate myself for my incredible act of heroism.

Dear Diary

Gave blood today for all those the Father has given me. First, Judas turns me over to angry mob with swords and spears. The disciples all run away. Dragged into a kangaroo court, where false witnesses lie about me, twisting things I’ve said. Hauled before Pilate and Herod, then handed over to Roman soldiers who tie me to a post and whip me over and over with the infamous cat o’ nine tails, with its leather thongs embedded with pieces of bone and metal. My back is completely shredded and my sides, arms, and the backs of my legs are torn to pieces. My face is black and blue and puffy from the soldiers’ fists.

They make a crown from a thorn bush and press it onto my head. Draping a purple cape over my shoulders, they pay mock homage, bowing before me, spitting on me and smacking the crown with reeds, driving it in deeper. Tiring of their fun, they lead me staggering out into the streets carrying a cross.

Noisy crowds, pushing, yelling. I lose my footing and fall beneath the crushing weight of the cross. After a couple falls, I can’t get up. The soldiers force a bystander to carry my cross and they push me through the crowds.

On a hill outside the city, the soldiers stretch me out on the cross and pound spikes into my hands and feet. I think I might pass out from the pain, but I don’t cry out. They lift the cross and it slides into its hole with a terrific jolt – pain shoots through my arms like lightning. I hang there for 6 hours, convulsing with racking pain. My lips are cracked and my throat burns with thirst. I’m suffocating. I push up on the nails in my feet for a few seconds to catch a breath of air, until the pain becomes unbearable in my feet, then I slump down and hang by the nails in my hands and begin suffocating again. People all around are cursing me, laughing at me, shaking their heads.

Worse than all the physical pain – I’m under my Father’s curse – his infinite wrath descends upon me. I’m abandoned by God and man. Desolate. Alone. Infinite misery, despair, grief, sorrow. I plunge into total darkness of soul, the darkness of utter abandonment. I hang between heaven and earth, all alone, for what seems like an eternity, until I’ve no more blood left. A spear pierces my side and a trickle of blood and water drains out. It is finished. I’ve purchased my beloved ones.

  • Emily

    what a glorious picture. i love the words "it is finished" All my sin is paid for by His death. What amazing grace! God has been once again reminding me of His grace and the depths to those 3 words "it is finished." I'm so grateful as He was struggling for breath – He took the effort to mouth those precious words. What a comfort and joy they have been to me this week.Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Excellent Mark.Wish I would have been able to be there to "encourage" you as you gave.So thankful that I was there when our Savior gave Himself (Gal. 2:2)tjk

  • Anonymous

    What a powerful contrast. Thank you.

  • Mark Altrogge

    Hi Emily – I agree, what a wonderful phrase – It is Finished. We will never be punished for our sins. Thanks for commenting.Hey Tom – I'm sure you would have encouraged me by some mockery. I'm only trying to be like you, my blood donating hero.Anonymous, Thank you for your encouragement.

  • Alan Helfer

    Hello Mark. I enjoyed your passage about having your blood drawn then going straight to Starbucks. I love your sense of humor! On the other hand, the second passage really made me stop and think a good while. I know I should be happy about what Jesus did for us (and I am), but it also makes me sad for what he had to endure…

    Take care and keep up the good work!

  • Mark Altrogge

    Alan,
    So good to hear from you. I agree, what Jesus endured for us was horrific. But I’m so glad he endured all that in our place so we wouldn’t have to. God bless you!

  • hanananah

    Wow. That was very powerful. I have a new perspective on giving blood. Thanks for pointing me once again to His work on the cross.

  • Mark Altrogge

    Hey Hanananah, thanks for your encouraging comment!

  • julianne drews

    Yeah, I can relate. There was a storm here – people getting crushed by trees and losing blood, lots of it. Paramedics yelled, “WE NEED DONORS AND DON’T KNOW THEIR BLOOD TYPE. ANYONE 0 NEGATIVE?”

    “Yeah. I’m 0 neg.” I crawled from under a massive limb to the paramedics, who jammed extra large guage needles into both arms and legs, filling 4 sacks at a time.

    Yeah, I was woozy afterward, who wouldn’t be? Human lives were at stake.

    Then I went to Starbucks for an extra shot, extra hot capp, no whip.