This past week I donated blood – well, I attempted to donate blood.
It did not go well.
I made it fine through the pre-check – blood pressure good, temperature good, hemoglobin fantastic.
I made it to the chair where I was going to make a double red donation.
A double red is a little more involved where they take the whole blood out, but return the plasma and platelets to you while keeping the red blood cells to help others. I have done this before without issue.
The donation started fine, but then on about the third cycle of returning my platelets and plasma, I felt a weird sensation in my arm, and the machine I was attached to sounded an alarm.
I know that sounds weird – but I felt inadequate in the moment. I felt like there was something wrong with me.
Then, after the technician tried to make it work (it didn’t), she removed the needle, had me put pressure on the site and lift my arm.
All of sudden I started feeling light-headed.
I didn’t say anything – I blinked, hoping it would pass.
Then I began to see dots.
I took deep breaths, hoping it would pass.
So, I spoke up and told the tech that I felt faint. You might be thinking, finally!!!
She quickly took the blanket off of me and the heat packs they had on me to keep me warm. She had another tech get cool cloths to put on my head and neck and stomach (yep, she just shoved one up my shirt). And, they grabbed me a Sprite to sip on.
And as I sat there quite helpless, I was overcome.
If you haven’t figured it out – I don’t like to ask for help. I don’t like to draw attention to my weakness.
Can you say PRIDE?
I was overcome with how foolish it would have been to refuse help from the sweet technicians at the donation center.
I was overcome with how foolish I am when I don’t admit my weakness to the body of Christ, inviting them to help me.
I was overcome with how foolish I am when I don’t admit my weakness to God – who already knows – and trust Him to be my strength.
I was overcome with my SIN!
I wondered how many times have I refused help – both physical and spiritual – because of pride. How many times have I tried to hide my weakness?
More than I even realize.
It seems that there are two ways we tend to respond to weakness if left to ourselves.
We try to hide it or
we wallow helplessly in it.
Both of these responses put the focus on self.
Both of these responses fail to look to the One who is strength for us.
Both of these responses are sin.
After my attempted blood donation, I was still thinking about these things as I enjoyed my Nutter Butter cookies. (I love them and only get them when I donate blood.)
The Holy Spirit brought to mind the following verses:
“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” (2 Corinthians 11:30 ESV)
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)
And as I am writing this, I read in Hebrews 11 where the author mentions people who were made strong out of weakness – BY FAITH (v 33).
And I am thankful.
I am thankful for my failed blood donation which God used to show me my sin – He is kind in that way.
I am thankful that the Holy Spirit brings to mind the truth of God’s Word as He corrects me.
I am thankful that Christ’s grace is sufficient in my weakness.
And I am thankful for the gift of faith that allows me to take my eyes off self and fix my eyes on Jesus.