Friday, June 22, 2007

Africa is in my Blood

Africa is in my blood .... that is a literal and figurative statement.

Figuratively - I feel a part of what is happening, or not happening, in east Africa. I love the people there; I wish that American Christians in general, and me in particular, had the sense of gratitude, hospitality, and devotion that African Christians have. I need to go back there to keep my life and my thinking in perspective. I need what they have as much as they need any knowledge, wisdom, or teaching that I may have.

Literally - African blood is now in my blood in a very minuscule way. I got a mosquito bite on the first or second day there and came down with malaria 9 or 10 days later. A female mosquito, who was carrying blood from an African with malaria, bit me. Fortunately, I got treatment the same day and received the latest medicine (according to an infectious disease doctor here in OKC, the medicine is not even available in U.S. yet). I started improving within just a few hours and was able to take that long flight home two days later.

All of this thinking about blood has led me to think about the symbolism of blood in the Christian life. I realize what a small drop of "bad blood" can make us sick spiritually. In fact, so sick that we die spiritually. But the blood of Christ completely purifies us. It takes away all of those "bad blood" cells and gives us completely whole, healthy blood. It doesn't mean that the "bad blood" of sin can't make us sick at times, but it can't kill us. We are immune to any threat of death.

Am I immune from malaria now? No, but my doctor tells me that I am less susceptible than I would have been if I had never had it, I am slightly more resistant. On my next (Lord willing) trip to Africa will I still take protection against malaria? Yes, in fact, after experiencing the sickness I will take as many precautions as possible. I know that if I get it again and get medicine quickly that I can live through it. But I do not want to go through the sickness again.

The same is true with sin. I won't die spiritually from sin in my life, but it could make me really sick. I could infect others and make them really sick, whether they have they have the immunity of Christ's blood or not. I will put up protections against sin in my life so that I can live the pure life Christ made possible for me.

Thanks to all of those who prayed for us. I am so thankful that we were in a place to get state-of-the-art, immediate treatment when I got sick. That's God grace in my life.