The Life Is In The Blood

And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your blood, I said to you in your blood, "Live!" Yes, I said to you in your blood "Live!"  Ezekiel 16:6

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"  Revelation 7:9-10

This has been a week of highs and lows.   After finishing 5 days of chemo the week before I was completely exhausted over the weekend.  Was practically glued to my recliner Saturday and Sunday totally devoid of energy.  I went to the cancer center on Monday and got some much needed fluids and picked up pretty quickly.  In fact, Tuesday and Wednesday I felt pretty close to normal and was able to work regular days those days.   I was eating closer and closer to regular foods and getting over 2,000 calories a day.   So... when I went on Thursday for routine bloodwork I expected them to tell me everything was fine and they'd see me next week.   I was completely shocked when they instead told me that some of my blood levels were critically low and I needed an immediate blood transfusion.   What??? My first thought was can I have a couple of days to think about this??   But, I went willingly like a good boy (feeling a bit like a lamb led to the slaughter) to the infusion center and what I thought was going to be a brief visit turned into an all day affair as they began to prepare me for what I was to experience next.

They explained that they were first going to determine my blood type and then I would be receiving someone else's blood for two hours.   They had me sign some paperwork saying I understood that within the first 15 minutes there was a chance that I would have a fever and chills but they didn't expect that, and besides that everything was fairly routine.   Routine for them I thought, for me it was quite unnerving!  After an hour of determining my blood type (which is A positive by the way) they brought out this bag of blood, hooked it up to the IV and I began to watch it moving very slowly through the clear plastic tube which was hooked up to my port to pump this foreign blood into my heart.   I have to admit that the closer that blood crept along the tube the more worried I became.   I began to pray audibly but quietly under my mask that God would take care of making sure that this blood didn't react with my blood and that I would be ok!   It felt a little like watching impending doom get closer and closer to my chest.   And... suddenly it was there, the blood was flowing into my blood and I just waited to see what would happen next.   Thankfully I had no reaction whatsoever and everything proceeded normally.  Two hours later I was ready to go home as if nothing had happened.   I was greatly relieved and have definitely felt the strength of that blood over the last couple of days feeling even more close to normal.   Normal enough that I believe I'm going to get that Pal's cheeseburger this weekend (there will be a video available for that)!!

Over the past couple of days I have pondered this experience, which truly was epic for me.   And it dawned on me that they didn't check any criteria about the blood they gave me other than it was a matching blood type.  They didn't ask me if I wanted male or female blood, white, black, asian, or hispanic they just gave me A positive blood.   According to the American Red Cross 24% of African American's, 29% of Latin Americans, 27% of Asian, and 33% of Caucasian have A positive blood.  So... there is a strong possibility that I now have multi racial blood and a 50/50 chance I have female blood to boot!!   I actually felt quite excited by that possibility and thought that really is how the world should be.   We find ourselves as divided as ever by race and gender but the problem is we are only looking on the outside.   The blood inside us is the same. I have sought to teach myself to look beyond skin color over the last 20+ years of my life and sought to identify someone by something other than their skin color (the one with the red hat, or the singer, or the short fella) to train my eyes to not see color.   To delve ever so slightly into the Critical Race Theory/Social Justice debate, at that moment when I was sitting in the chair at the infusion center, I in no way felt privileged about the blood I already had in my body and did not care what race or gender this new blood came to me from, I only cared that it would not interact badly with my blood.  Rather than standing on our soap boxes either yelling at each other or repeatedly repenting for our own social situation we need to deal with any hatred in our own hearts once and for all by bringing it to the cross of Jesus and laying it down and realize that we all bleed the same and that there is ONE blood, the blood of Jesus that can unite us all much more than any social justice platform ever could!   The scripture referenced at the top of this blog is such a beautiful description of Heaven when all "nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues" stand before the throne TOGETHER declaring how great God is.   If that is what Heaven is like, our job is to bring some of Heaven to earth.   Perhaps part of what can make that happen is for us to look deeper than skin color and gender realizing that the blood of Jesus is universal and as long as your blood type matches mine we can literally share what the Bible declares is life, "for the life is in the blood" Leviticus 17:11.    We are so much more alike than we are different.  We should say to each other as Ezekiel 16 declares "I say to you in your blood. live!"   For we really do need each other and we are lot more the same than we will ever be different.   The blood tells us that.

Well... I think I've preached through this blog long enough. I just felt excited by the lesson I learned from this week's experience and pray that you feel the same.   I am grateful that I am feeling stronger, preparing to eat that Pal's burger, and looking forward to putting this chapter in my journey into my past.  I'm not quite there yet.  No chemo this week but I have at least another full week the last week of May, and possibly more after that.  I'm not looking forward to that, please pray for God's strength through that week.  Next week I have another pulmonary test to see if my lung function has improved, please pray for that as well.    In the meantime I will continue to press on and through knowing that God is with me and for me in all the highs and the lows and whatever I face I will never face it alone.

I pray that this week's blog has blessed you and if so please comment, share, and pass it on.  I'm grateful for this opportunity to share with those who care about me both how I am doing and what lessons I am learning along this journey.  God bless you all.


Lydia Wade - May 15th, 2021 at 12:33pm

Hi Matthew, another great blog. Hope you’re having a good weekend and feeling good. Sending love and prayers xx

Matthew Chapman - May 15th, 2021 at 2:39pm

Thank you Lydia! Grateful for your prayers. Love ya!

Elizabeth Harrow - May 15th, 2021 at 12:38pm

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts over the last few weeks Matthew. Your messages are so insightful and honest. It has been tough for you but your faith and courage is shining through. These reflections are so powerful and are uniting us all. My prayers and thoughts are with you daily and I send my love. Maybe you will be able to treat yourself to that burger next week! X

Matthew Chapman - May 15th, 2021 at 2:43pm

Thank you Elizabeth!! I so appreciate your encouragement & prayers. I am really hopeful that we can come to England sometime in 2022. Would love to see you all!! Much love.

Richard Hilton - May 15th, 2021 at 12:43pm

Thank you for this insightful and heartfelt message of hope. Theresa and I love you.

Matthew Chapman - May 15th, 2021 at 2:39pm

Thank you so much pastor. Love you and Pastor T so much!!

Judy Jenkins - May 15th, 2021 at 1:19pm

Prayers for you,hope to see you in church soon may your hair come back curly love you all

Matthew Chapman - May 15th, 2021 at 2:40pm

Hi Judy! Yes curly would be fun!!

Christopher Francis Graf - May 20th, 2021 at 11:23am

I love you so much bro. When you started breaking down the blood by race I had the biggest smile, this is so Mathew. Your blogs are written so well, I hope you write a book soon. I cant wait to see you back on the pulpit. 😁

Matthew Chapman - May 21st, 2021 at 1:39pm

Thank you Chris!! Thanks for your encouragement & your prayers. Love ya bro!!