Spilled Elixirs


Autumn’s Story:    Two-year-old me tottered over to the fridge and pulled out the lemonade—a plastic container with a swiveling lid to keep children like me from spilling. I wrapped my little arms around the jug and set out on my quest. Crossing the threshold of the kitchen, I journeyed down our carpeted hallway to the end of the hall where Mom sneezed and blew her nose. Whenever I felt sick, Mom poured me a cup of lemonade. I imagined the sweet acidity burning through my body, scorching the sickness. Determined to rescue Mom, I hurried down the hall, golden elixir sloshing in its jug.

But then my little arms failed. The jug slipped from my hands and tumbled onto the floor, splashing lemonade onto the walls and soaking the carpet. Mom rushed out of her room, set her hands on her hips, sniffled and sighed.

Over twenty years later, I still try to take care of Mom. For the past eight years, some sickness, disease or sensitivity has plagued her. Black mold nearly killed her. COVID-19 struck. Her gall bladder sent her to the ER. An insane gluten intolerance nearly killed her—again. While the ailments have changed, my quest has remained the same: find the magic elixir.

Like a knight in tarnished armor, I trekked deep into medical offices and sparred through Quora chat rooms. Yet half-full pill bottles littered our cabinets, a testament to their inefficacy. My tears also proved a futile tonic. My efforts to save her mocked me as my desperation mounted.

In the latest iteration of my mom’s curse, she now suffers from migraines. After her latest round of injections to break the cycle of throbbing pain, she returned home and retreated to her room. As her door closed, I beelined toward a watermelon on the counter. Earlier, she had mentioned she wanted watermelon after the injections. So, as my helplessness deepened, I carved a melon – her temporary cure. As I did, a piece of crimson flesh slipped from my fingers onto the floor. When my fingers closed around the wet chunk, I noticed scarlet flecks of juice splattering the tile. They looked like blood.

In that moment, I realized I had found the magic elixir.

When I spilled lemonade twenty years ago, I ruined its saving power. But what if an elixir gained saving power when spilled? What else could save when spilled but the blood of God? Jesus’ power did not slip from his hands, even as Roman soldiers nailed them to the cross. God the Father did not look down on that Good Friday to set His hands on His hips and sigh. The sticky liquid stained the ground, but Jesus intended it. When Jesus spilled His blood, He paid the debt for our spills, stains and sin. And He opened paradise for believers—a place without sickness, sorrow and pain. Minute Maid can’t do that.

Jesus offers no promises we will sojourn through this life unscathed; God does not heal at our command. In my quest for a cure, I had neglected to rest in the only steadfast salve. Mom still faces sickness and long-term disability status. Doctors have no medical resolution. We still search for a cure. Yet even if she never finds healing in this life, we can rest knowing Jesus’ precious blood has purchased wholeness in the life to come.

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed…but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect (1 Peter 1:18-19, NIV).

After I sliced the watermelon, I journeyed down the hall again. I slipped into the dark, quiet room and set the bowl of fruit beside her. She carried tears in her voice. “I don’t know how people do this without Jesus.”

“Me neither, Mom.” I sighed and slid my hand into hers. “Me neither.”

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