Looking at My Lifeline: A Story of Hope :: By Donald Whitchard

Leviticus 17:11; Luke 22:20; Acts 20:28; Romans 5:9; Colossians 1:20; Revelation 1:5

Summary: As a kidney patient, I have to rely on a dialysis machine to perform the functions that my kidneys are no longer able to do. Dialysis is my physical “lifeline.” However, I have a greater lifeline in the Lord Jesus Christ, who keeps me alive in every way.

I have been dealing with progressive kidney failure for nearly five years and the effects upon one’s body that comes with it. I’ve endured numerous trips to doctors, specialists, nutritionists, and other experts who have been more than helpful in getting me through this rough spot in my life. I’ve had to make a lot of adjustments in my diet, my activities, and my ministry without too much complaint from me.

This past August, I was informed that my function had dwindled down to the point where I would have to look at the probability of dialysis “at some point.” That “some point” happened on September 19th at 5:00 AM. I had just finished eating breakfast and was heading to the kitchen to put my dishes in the dishwasher before heading to my study and to start work on some sermon ideas. I tripped on the staircase that led from our living room to the kitchen. I started to get up and found that I couldn’t. I laid down on the kitchen floor while my son went to get a pillow for my head, and my wife called the first responders stationed around the corner from our house. They literally had to carry me to the gurney that was waiting for me outside, and the next thing I knew, I was in the ER of the local hospital.

The ER staff informed me and my wife that my kidney function had totally collapsed, my blood pressure had fallen dangerously low (87/40), and that if I had not called for assistance, I would have died. Well, as one of the main characters in the epic movie “Braveheart” exclaimed as he was being cauterized for a wound, “That’ll wake you up in the morning, boy!”

The nephrology (kidney) team wasted no time. I was admitted, stabilized, and then scheduled to have a chest catheter implanted in me the next morning and immediately be taken to dialysis to begin the first of many treatments until I decided to either start looking into getting a kidney transplant or I got tired of the whole thing, decide to stop all treatments, be placed under hospice care, and eventually go home to be with the LORD (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:20-24).

All of this showed me that life is truly like a vapor (James 4:13-15), and we are never more than a breath away from facing the King (2 Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 9:27).

I go to the dialysis center three days a week. When I get there, I get weighed to estimate the amount of fluid build-up I have and how much to take out of me with that day’s procedure. Then, I go to the dialysis station where my catheter is cleaned, flushed, and attached to the tubing and machinery that will take my blood a portion at a time, filter it, eliminate all waste products, and return it to my body over a three-to-four-hour period. During that time, I put on a set of headphones to watch TV, read a book that I’ve packed in my duffel bag, or take a nap while the machine does its job.

One evening, when I had finished and my nurse was cleaning my catheter, he said something that resonated with me and gave me the inspiration to write this message. He said, “You need to really take good care of this catheter because right now it is your LIFELINE.” It’s true. Without my chest catheter, I have no access to the device that is able to keep me alive at this time. That piece of tubing is the connecting lifeline that I have been given so that my foul, corrupted blood can be cleansed and renewed for a period of time until the next dialysis appointment.

If you cannot see the spiritual analogy of this situation, then you need to get your head out of the sand and realize that this life does not consist of the physical realm and temporal surroundings but that our lives are more valuable and precious than we can ever imagine. Our bodies are not mere random conglomerations of cells and tissues but are a unique creation of the LORD God Almighty, fearfully and wonderfully made for His glory and for a purpose (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 139:13-18; Isaiah 45:12, 43:13; Acts 17:24; Hebrews 1:10, 11:3).

One thing to point out is that everyone’s blood is the same color. There is no “diversity” in its flow, function, or ability to sustain life. Our background, beliefs, education, or status in life make no difference.

If your blood is flowing inside your body, you are living. If it ceases to flow or flows out of your body due to a wound, the color of your skin or the content of your character is not an issue. If you don’t receive medical attention immediately, the life that is in your blood will cease to function (Leviticus 17:11), and you will go the way of all humanity (Luke 12:13-21). Without the lifeline of the blood, you’re gone, and nothing will change that fact. The precise chemical, biological, and physiological elements that the Sovereign LORD placed within the blood cells of all humanity are what He has decreed for us in order to live, thrive, and function for the time we have in this world.

Evolutionary biology cannot provide an adequate explanation as to why blood is the perfect element in our body that we need in order to live. It seems that the idea of “design” gets under their skin for some reason (Romans 1:20-22).

Everyone’s blood is also stained with the corruption of sin (Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 5:12). When our ancestors Adam and Eve decided they knew better than God how to run their lives and rebelled against His rule, they brought upon themselves and all humanity the curse, corruption, and death of sin (Romans 8:18-22).

We capriciously toss the word “sin” around as if it’s no big deal. Sin is an abhorrent evil in the sight of God, and He will neither tolerate nor overlook it (Genesis 2:17, 3:19, 4:11; Ezekiel 18:4, 33:8; Romans 6:23). Our fallen, corrupt nature that cannot tell right from wrong (Isaiah 5:20-21; Romans 1:28-32, 3:10-18) cannot in any way, shape, or form make ourselves right with God (Isaiah 64:6).

Like the blood in my body that needs to be continually cleansed with the help of a dialysis machine, all of us need the outside help, and I dare say, mercy of Someone who can provide us with the one certain means of cleansing us from the impurities and corruption of sin that pollutes our blood and will restore us to fellowship and peace with God.

Right now, the physicality of a dialysis machine is the lifeline on which I depend to stay alive, but more important is that the actuality of a Living, Loving, and Eternal Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, decided from eternity past to willingly and lovingly shed His own blood, perfect and sinless upon the cross in order that not only my blood but the entirety of my life is made anew not every three days, but for eternity (John 3:16, 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 6:23).

His sinless blood was the perfect means and sacrifice by which I am forgiven and given the promise of life everlasting. I am assured that one day, He will return to make all things new and rid this world and universe of the corruption of sin, death, and disease (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 21:1-7). At that time, I will have a new body. I will no longer have to rely on dialysis or other medical procedures. I will be free from all sickness and sin.

The point I am making is that, like me, your blood is corrupted with the stain and curse of sin. You need new blood that neither a machine, medication, nor anything in this world can provide. Politics will not save you. Your “good works” cannot cleanse you. Nothing of this fallen world suffices when it comes to having not only pure blood but a redeemed soul. The only Lifeline any of us have is the one offered by the Lord Jesus Christ.

He will save you now. Call on Him. The lifeline is yours to take.