Last week I pulled out the box of old medical supplies that we had from years of Wesley’s leukemia treatment. I was looking through the box to see if we had any masks left. I didn’t find any mask, but I did experience a flood of emotions.
While I am thankful we had the provision of the medical supplies in that box, I really don’t want anyone to have a need for a box like that. So many memories of HARD times rushed through my heart and my mind. I had to LEAN into the arms of God and cling to how faithfully he walked with us over the years.
I put all the supplies back in the box and slid the box back into its spot in the hall closet. I took a deep breath to try to clear away the lingering pain and turned to go to the kitchen. My husband soon came in and I shared with him how caught off guard I had been by the experience of going through the medical supply box. I’m glad he was home to help me process.
Last week was Holy Week that led up to Easter Sunday. Each day last week I joined in on Holy Week messages online. God began to stir in my heart an analogy from one of the items in that medical box.
As I have made our essential trips to the grocery store and pharmacy (one each week) I have seen an increased amount of people wearing gloves and masks. I totally get why they are wearing them. The gloves and masks give them a sense that they are doing something to protect themselves from becoming contaminated with the coronavirus. We all want to protect ourselves and our loved ones from this evil.
Watching people with their gloves and masks has been an interesting experience. I have seen so many people, with good intentions, make some crazy mistakes that actually put themselves at greater risk, rather than decreased risk. It has been hard to watch!
During the years of Wesley’s treatment I received lots of training on how to use gloves and mask, the importance of cleaning, hand washing and using hand sanitizer. I had to be trained on how to use these things so that they actually worked to help protect him.
Once you put gloves on they become “contaminated” the second you touch anything. I’ve watched people shopping, touching all kinds of things, and then pull out their phone without taking off the contaminated gloves. UGH… now the phone is contaminated. I’ve watched people adjust their face mask with their contaminated gloves. UGH… just put any germs right on their face and mask! I’ve seen people pull out their wallets, their debit cards, their keys with their contaminated gloves. I’ve seen them open their car doors and load in their grocery bags…. all while wearing the same gloves they wore all over in the store. UGH!! UGH!!
Wearing gloves and masks can be a way to protect ourselves from the virus…. but ONLY if we are using these personal protective things correctly. For example…. DON’T touch your phone, wallet, keys or anything else without removing the contaminated gloves! Otherwise you just transfer germs to those things! Most certainly, do NOT touch your face or the mask!!
OK… where am I going with this? How does any of this relate to Easter, to our Savior?
Note: Pictures are old. Wesley has not had a central line now in just over a year! Thank you Jesus.
For a total of over three years Wesley had a double lumen central line in his chest used to administer chemo, many other meds, blood transfusions, platelet transfusions and for drawing labs. This central line was EXTREMELY valuable and necessary, but came with a HUGE risk of contamination and infection. He had a line coming out of his chest that was connected to one of the main heart blood vessels. If infection got into his body through the central line it would go right to his blood stream. YIKES!
Each week the sterile dressing that covered the central line entrance had to be changed. 3 years = minimum of 156 dressing changes. (It was really more than this because he had a central line in longer than exactly 3 years.)
The responsibility of changing that dressing rested firmly on my shoulders unless he was admitted in the hospital. (Side note: He would only allow certain nurses to change his dressing… trust issues… so if one of those nurses wasn’t on duty he would ask me to do the dressing change. Therefore, I did a fair amount of dressing changes even when he was admitted. This was the ONE area he exercised incredible stubbornness …. and …. We all totally understood. He wanted to feel secure that his central line would be kept as safe as possible. Even the nurses understood because it is normal for patients to feel very protective of the central line.)
In order to change his dressing I had to be trained. Changing the dressing must be done using sterile technique. I had to be trained, and had to pass a test, at each of the three medical facilities where Wesley received treatment (Indy, Philly and Seattle). Sterile procedure is INTENSE! Have you ever learned how to put on sterile gloves?? Wowzer!
Each week as I would change his dressing I would pray that God would help me. I felt the weight of the responsibility. It was heavy. I knew that if I contaminated his skin or any part of the dressing material I would put him at HIGH risk of infection. Infection was DANGEROUS and could cause death. Yeah… the weight I felt on my shoulders was heavy. Dressing changes were only done with lots of prayers!
There were times during dressing changes I would contaminate one of my gloves. There were times I wasn’t for sure, but was afraid I was contaminated. What did I have to do at that point? Start completely over. Once I was contaminated there was no undoing that. I had to get rid of the contaminated gloves, dressing, etc. and start completely fresh.
This is where the connection to Easter comes in. God used the sterile dressing changes to show me about sin and my need for a savior.
Pulling out that box of medical supplies brought back so many memories …. but God used seeing the sterile dressing change packages to teach me about Him.
You see…. in order to be in the presence of God (in heaven) we have to be completely “sterile”, free of sin. We can not have one speck of contamination on us. However, living in this world there is NO way we can get through life without becoming contaminated by sin. We are inherently sinful and surrounded by sin. We all sin. We are all contaminated. Our “sterile” gloves stand no chance!
Once contaminated there is nothing we can do to un-contaminate ourselves without being completely cleansed. However, we do not have the power to wash away our sins like we do have the power to wash a virus off our hands. Sin won’t come off with water and soap! There is nothing we can do to get rid of the contamination of sin. Nothing!
The ONLY way we can become clean and uncontaminated is by the blood of Christ. Jesus became the sacrifice that makes us white as snow!! Jesus came to save us from our sin to bring us into relationship with our Heavenly Father!
That is what Easter is all about. That is why we need a savior.
Without Christ cleansing me I am covered in the filth of my sin. Washed in his grace I am covered in His righteousness. I am free of contamination. I am “sterile”. I am given forgiveness and welcomed by the Father as His child!
Thanks be to God who sent His one and only son to save us from the contamination of sin! To bring us into a relationship with him!
I pray that each time as we put on gloves and masks we will remember that Jesus is the only way we can be cleansed from the contamination of our sins. That we will thank Jesus for his grace! We are washed in the blood of the lamb!
Have you downloaded your free copy of the E-book Bible study: GOD is BIGGER, Feed Faith & Starve Fear?? This Bible study is based on the tools God taught me while we were in the trenches of battling leukemia. These methods of feeding faith and starving fear apply to any kind of hard stress we can face in this life.
Good reminder and great parallel. It seems people have been slower on the uptake when it came to understanding gloves and masks than they did about the staying home, but it looks like we’re comin’ around to this now, too!