When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.
So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing — and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
- Genesis 37:10-13
Moreover, Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from end to end—besides the sin that he had caused Judah to commit, so that they did evil in the eyes of the Lord.
- 2 Kings 21:16
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short.”
- Revelation 12:10-12
My wife had a mishap the other day, okay about two weeks ago. In fact, it was the Saturday before Easter Sunday. To some, they call in Holy Saturday. My wife was scheduled to be the liturgist at church, and she was practicing. I was giving her breathing treatments due to a cold that was coming on. We thought she might slip into laryngitis if we were not careful. Little did we know that would be the least of our worries that day. And SPOILER ALERT, she is now upstairs resting.
She went to the dialysis center early that Saturday morning. Earlier in the week, she had two successful trials using her fistula for one of the tubes in the system, either drawing blood or returning the blood back to the fistula. This was to be her third attempt with one tube. The next week, she was scheduled to do both tubes in the fistula. Since she has a small fistula that is not growing, the second week was going to be the acid test, again, so we thought.
She loves small talk, and she greeted the nurse who was going to insert the intravenous needle, a rather small needle. I guess it is still an IV when inserted into the fistula instead of the vein. He grumbled about what was so good about the day and that he was definitely not happy to be spending his weekend, just Saturday, at the clinic. He jabbed the needle into her arm, taped it down and walked away.
She was shocked by the pain and the lack of any gentleness or compassion, far from a gentle pinch, but after a while, she noticed a tiny trickle of blood. Just an occasional drop, like a leaky faucet. She called a different nurse over and the nurse made some adjustments, but the dripping never stopped.
After four hours of blood dripping, she was taken off the machine and they put a band aid on her wound. She asked why and the nurse said that it was a special compression bandage to stop the bleeding.
My wife thought that was strange, since it was not needed before.
She came out to the car and said that she was hungry. We did our usual fast-food run, special spicy chicken sandwich for her and my usual taco salad to go. The line at the drive-in window was long for a Saturday. About an hour after she was released, we were home, eating our lunches. Halfway through her sandwich, she complained about her sweater being wet, like she had placed her sleeve in a bucket of water. The sweater was charcoal gray and black, so she could not see anything.
When she went to the sink, she screamed that there was blood everywhere. While she applied pressure, I started cleaning up the puddles of blood and dialing the dialysis clinic. They said to place pressure on the wound for fifteen minutes without checking it. If the bleeding does not stop, call 911. Since her hand was on the wound, I started the timer. I finished my meal and finished washing the surfaces. There was a single drop of blood when she removed her hand, but the bleeding had stopped, or so we thought. We joked about how she should check her weight because she was a quart low. I bandaged her wound and she got to finish her sandwich and put a new sweater on, this time a tan one.
Thirty minutes later, she called from her cellphone to mine. The bleeding had started again, another sweater with blood on it. She did not have many sweaters left. I called 911 while she wrapped her arm in a towel and placed pressure. Now we had two towels that had turned from white to red, two sweaters stained with blood, and her clothing, and a half roll of paper towels and some disinfecting wipes all red. And I squeezed a lot of blood out of the clothing into the sink before the EMT personnel arrived.
The EMT crew took over applying pressure. They got her into the ambulance and left without lights. She had this slow leak of blood, nothing to worry about. I followed the ambulance and at one point three cars had gotten between us. What can you do at a four-way stop? I looked ahead and the ambulance was just cresting a hill about a half mile ahead and the lights and siren came on. Now there were three cars between us on a hill with a lot of curves. I caught up with the empty ambulance when I reached the hospital.
My wife was in an ER bed, with the sheets covered in blood. The EMT explained to me that my wife’s blood pressure dropped extremely low and then she drifted in and out of consciousness in the ambulance. When the nurse and doctor removed my bandages, they were getting arterial spray from the wound. Picture it. A needle puncture wound, just like when you get bloodwork done. Yet, everything in sight was colored red. It did not look real. I thought of police or hospital dramas where the wounded person has just been slabbed twenty times with a butcher knife. The movie or television depiction of the scene is less blood than this, from a tiny little hole.
The doctor was in a hurry. He stitched the wound and got the bleeding stopped. How can you stitch a needle puncture hole? But he did. They cut her blouse off her. I don’t know if you have ever been in a room where they cut the clothing off someone that you love, but it is not a pleasant experience. When we eventually left the ER, my wife said that she was afraid the nurses at the ER entrance would think she was trying to sneak out without paying, wearing two hospital gowns instead of a blouse. She would have hurried, but she did not have the strength.
But back to the bloody scene, the phlebotomist stabbed my wife three times in the other arm, each time with a smaller needle. He complained that her veins were too small. He did not realize that there was simply nothing left in the veins and they had collapsed. Finally, he got an IV started with one bag of saline. With his stabbing of the needle, it was the first time I had heard my wife complain about pain since our second son was born nearly 42 years ago.
The doctor pulled me aside and said that everyone was putting pressure in the wrong place. Not on the wound but just above the wound, cutting off the blood flow to the fistula. I thanked him, the EMT, the nurse, even the fumbling phlebotomist.
When the bloodwork came back okay and the bleeding was confirmed to have stopped, they let us go home. While we were waiting for discharge papers, I called the pastor. My wife was to do the liturgy at church Easter morning at the 9:00 service. He promised to find someone else, at the last minute. He asked how she was doing. I said she was fine, except the scene in the ER looked like she was … I was thinking about stabbed twenty times or shot twenty times, but the nurse said, loud enough for the pastor to hear, “DEAD!” Then the pastor heard my wife and the nurse laughing. But then again, I looked at everything in the room covered with blood and wondered how could she still be alive. There was so much blood. And at home there had been so much blood. And that after four hours of dripping blood.
And my wife and I talked about it on the way home. On the celebration weekend when Jesus was betrayed, and He was flogged with a crown of thorns on His head and then hung on a cross to die…
There was … so much blood.
But Jesus died and rose again on the third day. My wife barely drifted in and out of consciousness and was revived back to her old self all in one day.
I carefully cleaned the sweaters and her under garments, and they look to be stain free, and shockingly the two towels as well. The blouse is in pieces in a biowaste container. They may not be as white as snow, but the sweaters were wool.
Jesus bled and died. The blood that was shed was shed for our sin.
So many sins.
So much blood.
We did not need an Easter sermon. We had just lived one.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.