Life In The Blood

Life In The Blood

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

Carl Pollard

A common practice for thousands of years was to drain “bad blood” out of the body. In fact, there are still some cultures today that practice this. The greatest doctors who were thought to be extremely smart would commonly drain the “bad blood” out of their patients if they were sick. For the longest time it was believed that if you were sick you needed to let this poisonous blood out of your body in order to be healed. 

Leviticus 17:11 says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.”

December 13th 1799 a man was riding a horse through his plantation. It was a day like any other, and everything was perfectly normal. Little did this man know that in less than two days he would be dead. The decision he made that day in December proved to be fatal. While he was out riding he got caught in the rain, and when he returned home he decided to hold off on changing out of his wet clothes because he didn’t want to be late for his dinner party. The next morning, he worked outside in the bitter cold as he had the day before. The whole day he worked through the pain that had developed in his throat. Nevertheless he pushed on and tried to ignore it. 

That evening his symptoms worsened, but he decided to see if they would improve by the morning. This man woke up and things had only gotten worse. He called in three well-known physicians and he received good news that it was just a cold and a slight fever. The physicians assured the man that he would be just fine. All they had to do was drain the sickness out of his body and he would be healed. 

This fatal decision resulted in the death George Washington. 

Bloodletting is now seen as an incompetent practice. Yet it was practiced worldwide until the late 1800s. Millions of people died thanks to this lack of understanding, but guess who knew NOT to do this right from the start? The life is in the blood and God is the one who revealed this fact to us. 

Sometimes we are a little slow in catching on to the wisdom that God has revealed in His Word. If God was right about the blood, what else could He be right about? 

What Do We Make Of God’s Second Chances?

What Do We Make Of God’s Second Chances?

Neal Pollard

We were living in Cairo, Georgia, and I was in the third grade. It was during a game of kickball on the playground and I was the “pitcher.”  A kid kicked it hard and I caught it.  As the ball hit me in the gut, I felt a sharp pain.  Something wasn’t right.  My parents took me that week to see the local doctor.  He thought it might be a hernia. Exploratory surgery in Thomasville instead revealed a tumor on my liver.  My parents and I flew to Atlanta, Georgia, where I was checked into Egleston Children’s Hospital.  Extensive testing there and Emory Hospital, the general campus for Egleston, led my team of doctors to the same conclusion. It was cancerous. They tried to prepare my parents for how slim my chance of survival was.  Even if their diagnosis was wrong, surgery and attending blood loss may well be more than I could stand. My parents maintained great faith, and my dad solicited prayers from congregations all over the place. Dr. Gerald Zwiren, who led a team of highly-skilled doctors, brought the news to my parents that I survived the surgery and later shared the oncology report that my tumor was benign. That was close to 40 years ago and to this point I have never had further complications. I certainly received a second chance.

Periodically, I ponder at length what I have done with that second chance. The scar I bear from that surgery has long since become invisible to my daily view.  I suffer no lingering consequences. That event is certainly not why I chose to become a preacher, as if to try and pay a debt to God for saving me. Sadly, despite His mercy in sparing me, I have sinned in ways great and small that reveal, in addition to all else, a failure to appreciate that blessing. Spiritually, whether as a preacher, husband, father, or Christian, I am saddled with the realization of how far I have to go.  With the help of His Word, His providence, and His strength, I continue to try to make the most of this extra time He gave me back in 1979.

All of us who are New Testament Christians face the same spiritual situation.  We suffered the terminal condition of lostness in sin. By all human calculations and efforts, nothing could be done to save us.  Yet, when we responded to His grace by believing, repenting, and being baptized (cf. Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38), He gave us all a “second chance.”  We passed from death to life.  More than that, God gave us a way to continually receive the benefits of the blood and grace of His Son as we strive to walk in His light (1 Jn. 1:7-10).  You may have messed things up badly in your life.  You may feel that it is impossible for God to love and forgive you.  Friend, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26).  God is the God of the second chance!  His diagnosis is perfect, and His is the only one that counts!  Trust in the Great Physician.  He has never lost a patient who followed His prescription!

Picture of me (2nd from left) about a year after the surgery.