So Messy it’s Clean

“What is THAT?!  Am I bleeding??”  The patient was alarmed.  Her toe was covered with a gauze pad that was dripping a dark fluid that had a hint of orange/brown to it.

I had gotten distracted.  I’ve had a few things on my mind lately, and sometimes I get busy doing my job and forget to talk.  The work is routine for me.  But I realize it is all new and sometimes frightening for them.  I pride myself in educating my patients and keeping them informed as to what their problem is, how they got it, and what we can do to fix it.  I usually tell them step-by-step what is going to happen and is happening during a treatment.  It prepares them and keeps them calm.  When we get to the rough spots, we talk about other things.  What’s for lunch?  What are you doing this weekend?  How many kids do you have?  Distraction therapy generally works well.  But it doesn’t work so well when it’s the doctor who’s gotten distracted.

The patient’s surprise pulled me back to the present.  I reassured her.  The fluid was just povidone-iodine solution, an antiseptic, to sanitize her skin prior to the nail procedure.  The chemical is microcidal against a broad range of bacteria, fungus, viral elements and protozoa.  It has minimal toxicity to mammalian cells – that’s you and me. As ironic as it is, the messy, staining liquid cleans the skin when it is saturated.

Have you ever really imagined being “washed in the blood of the Lamb”?  Have you pictured it?  In the days of the temple sacrifices the people brought their lambs, free of blemishes, innocent, and helpless, as a sacrifice to the altar.  It was messy.  It was dripping of blood.  It was life-giving blood.  Life for the worshiper.  Death for the lamb.  Of course the actual lamb and its blood didn’t make the people clean.  It was merely a symbol pointing to the Lamb of God who would die to make them clean, to make me clean.  As ironic as it is, the messy, staining blood washes me clean when I bathe myself in it.

“Just then one of the Elders addressed me: “Who are these dressed in white robes, and where did they come from?” Taken aback, I said, “O Sir, I have no idea—but you must know.”   Then he told me, “These are those who come from the great tribulation, and they’ve washed their robes, scrubbed them clean in the blood of the Lamb. That’s why they’re standing before God’s Throne. They serve him day and night in his Temple. The One on the Throne will pitch his tent there for them: no more hunger, no more thirst, no more scorching heat. The Lamb on the Throne will shepherd them, will lead them to spring waters of Life. And God will wipe every last tear from their eyes.””  Revelation 7: 13-17  The Message

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