Meet the Ultimate Blood Donor

ultimate blood donor

This month our country celebrates those who donate blood during National Blood Donor Month. This got me thinking about my experiences with blood donation.
I donate blood when I can—but often the techs turn me away. After registering and going through the health history and mini-physical, the tech does a little needle prick and squeezes a drop of blood from my finger into a sterile solution. More ofthen than not they will shake their heads and inform me that my hemoglobin levels are too low (aka, I’m anemic).

But I try, because I know firsthand the importance of blood transfusions. In 2002, Pedro received a diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL), a blood cancer (one affecting the white blood cells). In order to treat his cancer, doctors administered chemotherapies that killed his blood cells—making his highly susceptible to secondary infections after each treatment. In fact, a secondary infection almost took his life.

Pedro received many units of blood during his year of cancer, chemo and recovery. Each one brought life-giving elements to his worn-out body at just the right time. He even received a unit or two of my blood (we don’t have the same blood type, but our blood types are compatible).

While Pedro knew the importance of receiving blood, the idea of a stranger’s blood coursing through his veins and arteries and pumping through his heart—well, it kind of grossed him out. To accept someone else’s blood is to allow a living part of them to become a part of you. On the other hand, he also knew that without the blood of strangers, he had no chance to live. When the doctors ordered a blood or platelet transfusion, Pedro always accepted it (but he never dwelt on the bag of blood hanging on his IV pole).

We all know that we need blood to survive, but you might not know exactly what blood does for us (I know I didn’t!). Blood has three primary jobs in our bodies—transportation, regulation and protection.

First of all it serves to carry life-giving substances such as nutrients and oxygen to all of our cells. It also transports waste and carbon monoxide to the proper body parts for elimination. Blood also carries stem cells—the basic building blocks of life—around our bodies. Stem cells have all the coding needed to regenerate the different types of blood cells and other tissues needed by our bodies.

As a regulator, blood works to keep our temperature constant so that our vital organs can work properly. In addition, it keeps our pH levels constant for optimal functioning.

Blood protects us in several ways. When something damages a blood vessel, the platelets go into action to knit the damage back together as quickly as possible. When bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites enter our body, the white blood cells multiply and quickly respond to the invasion.

I have a profound appreciation for anyone who takes the time to donate blood—and a profound respect for those who accept the donations. Donors give life, and recipients accept a gift that’s freely offered.

Thinking about the blood donation process and the role of blood in my body brings to mind another blood donation. Over two thousand years ago, God sent his son to live on this earth. While Jesus lived and breathed here on earth, he experienced every kind of suffering that I experience today. He lived a perfect life and willingly paid the price of death so that I could have hope. He offered his blood to pay for my sins.

I’d call him The Ultimate Blood Donor. And just like a cancer patient, I need to recognize the cancer of sin in my life and my need for a transfusion. A transfusion that transports, regulates, and protects.

I need to recognize the cancer of sin in my life and my need for a transfusion. Click To Tweet

Jesus’ blood creates new life within me. It transports hope throughout me while carrying the sin and guilt to the grave (Jesus’ grave, not mine). I can know forgiveness as well as comfort because Jesus suffered in every way that we suffer.

In addition, accepting the blood of Jesus helps to regulate me. Every morning I show up for my daily transfusion (I spend time with him through Bible study and prayer). I have discovered that the closer I come to the heart of God, the easier it is for me to handle stress, disappointment and trials.

Those daily transfusions also protect me from the flaming arrows of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16). God promises to enter into relationship with us—all we have to do is ask. Once we’ve accepted him, he can protect us from the evil one (2 Thessalonians 3:3). That protection doesn’t mean that we won’t experience bad things—it simply means that God will never leave us nor forsake us as we live out our lives in a sinful world.

Of course, I can’t just walk into a hospital and ask for a pint of blood, but I can receive a transfusion of Jesus’ blood simply for the asking.

“Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” Hebrews 4:14-16 MSG

We have permission to approach the God of the universe and say, “Hook me up! I’m a dying sinner in need of mercy.” All because Jesus agreed to become the ultimate blood donor.

We can walk into God's presence and say, 'Hook me up! I'm a sinner in need of mercy.' Click To Tweet

I’m joining my friends Jennifer and Holley today.  Check out the other great stories on their sites!

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Jesus—the ultimate blood donater!! YES!!! That is such a great image. Sadly I have not been able to give blood either. I have high blood pressure which runs in my family. We have gotten it under control (actually within normal ranges) with medication. It bums me out though because I know so many who have benefited from others blood donations. I didn’t realize that our blood has three functions. Thanks for teaching me something new today!
    Tara recently posted…A Day to RememberMy Profile

  • My mother had a blood disorder and after a decade of watching her struggle I can’t begin to tell people how important donating is. What a great analogy between donating blood and the blood of our Savior. Would you mind if I shared it with our local Red Cross director?

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your mom’s chronic illness. Blood donors are so vitally imporant. It would be an honor to have you share this.
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…First of All, Just Plead GuiltyMy Profile

  • I’ve never thought about that icky feeling of someone else’s blood in my veins. But I know I need my daily transfusion of Jesus to keep me healthy!
    Christa recently posted…New Year, New Thing: A Bold New Approach to Healthy ResolutionsMy Profile

  • thank you for this reminder! I needed this. Jesus blood is so powerful. I liked your idea of a daily hook up/ transfusion!

  • Great analogy, Anita. I’d never thought of it this way but so true. Thanks
    Debby recently posted…The Small ThingsMy Profile

  • Wonderful analogy! Jesus washes us clean with HIs blood alone. Amen.

  • What a powerful analogy, Anita! I knew where you were going when I saw your title, but what good stuff you have here. What a miracle blood is (platelets, stem cells, life-giving power). How much more miraculous is the blood of Christ to cleanse us. I need my daily transfusion too!
    Betsy de Cruz recently posted…How to Get More out of the BibleMy Profile

  • Love the connection you make here, especially this: “And just like a cancer patient, I need to recognize the cancer of sin in my life and my need for a transfusion. A transfusion that transports, regulates, and protects.” And yes, a daily transfusion is what we all need. Thank you for this uplifting and encouraging post. Love that Scripture from Hebrews…”let’s walk right up”!
    Anna Smit recently posted…Time Enlarges in the PainMy Profile

  • Great analogy, Anita! I especially love the idea of showing up for my daily transfusion. What a difference it makes in the day. Blessings to you!
    Dianne Thornton recently posted…A New Heart For A New YearMy Profile

  • I’ve been turned away the last 2 times I’ve tried to donate blood too. 🙁 Once because it hadn’t been a year since I’d been out of the country, and second, because I was going to be having some medical tests done soon and they thought I should wait on that. I understood both reasons, but it was still disappointing not to be able to give. It makes me think though, how discouraged people can be when they’re ready to give to ME, and I refuse to take their gift. I’m grateful that we live in a day where we’ve learned to swap blood among people who need it. Jesus started a good thing, yes? 🙂
    Lisa notes recently posted…Do you believe what they’re saying? Blacks and whites in AmericaMy Profile