I have had numerous opportunities to pray with patients as they receive care at Shawnee Christian Healthcare Clinic. One of these remarkable opportunities especially sticks out to me so far this summer.
A 20-year-old female came into the clinic during this past month, and I had the privilege of learning a bit of her story. D* has been diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia, a blood cell disorder, and is anxiously awaiting a bone marrow transplant.[pullquote type=”right”]D has been diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia, a blood cell disorder, and is anxiously awaiting a bone marrow transplant.[/pullquote] When D told me about being in need of a bone marrow transplant, the memory of Jim Monroe’s testimony came to my mind. Jim Monroe is a cancer survivor. He became a follower of Jesus through his process of receiving a bone marrow transplant.
Jim’s testimony illuminates the Good News of Jesus Christ through his experience of receiving a transplant. I could not wait to share with D the truths I had learned from Jim’s testimony.
For both Jim and D, the problem in their bodies is their blood cells are making bad copies of bad blood cell copies. Basically, their bodies are sabotaging themselves.
In Jim’s testimony, he tells of his doctor explaining, “We need to completely destroy your cells, your blood and immune system, and we’re hoping to find someone in the world whose DNA matches yours closely enough to grow a brand-new immune system, a brand-new blood system from scratch. We’re going to substitute someone else’s perfect blood on your behalf so you can live again.”[pullquote type=”left”]”We’re going to substitute someone else’s perfect blood on your behalf so you can live again.”[/pullquote] I began to share with D the revelations I have learned from Jim’s testimony. I explained to D that once her transplant date is scheduled, she will gain a second birthday. In Jim’s case, he remembered his doctor telling him: “You’re going to get a brand new birthday. You are going to be like a baby all over again. The nurses will celebrate your new birth in the hospital. You get two birthdays now for the rest of your life.”
From the day after her transplant day, “Day One,” forward D’s blood production will continue from her donor’s marrow, not her own. If anyone were to take a blood sample from D or Jim after their transplants, their blood samples would no longer read as their own identities. From their new birthdays forward, the blood sampled from them would read as their donor’s identity.[pullquote type=”right”]From D and Jim’s new birthdays forward, the blood sampled from them would read as their donor’s identity.[/pullquote] Jim says he was reminded of Galatians 2:20 when his doctor told him of his new blood and new identity. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Our conversation explored the treasures of the Gospel embedded in our life, even in our own biology. I tried my best to unpack these truths in layman’s terms for D.
After talking, D allowed me to pray with her. I prayed for her physical health, her fears and her soul. I have to be content with not being able to read D’s mind. I have to have faith that a seed of the Good News has been sown in her life, even when I am uncertain if I explained it simply or clearly enough. Although I do not get the privilege of knowing exactly how our conversation impacted D’s heart and mind, I do know God’s love fell afresh on me through the interaction and prayer I shared with D.[pullquote type=”left”]Although I do not get the privilege of knowing exactly how our conversation impacted D’s heart and mind, I do know that God’s love fell afresh on me through the interaction and prayer I shared with D.[/pullquote] As I reflected on my time spent with D, John 1:3 was brought to the forefront of my mind: “Through Him [Christ] all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him is life, and that life was the light of all mankind.”
I am awe-struck at how beautifully God reveals Himself and His love through His creation. God is all around us. He can pursue us through any angle He desires. God meets us where we are with a personalized invitation, sometimes even through our own biology.
*D’s name cannot be revealed due to patient privacy.[starbox id=jamie]