It’s Monday morning, a day like any other. You wake up, eat breakfast, kiss your wife and son goodbye, and go to work. You put in 8 hours. The day is done. As you drive home, you turn on the radio and search for a station:
“That was Rich Mullins with Awesome God. Hi, I’m Phil Davis on WKMO the big E-Z. And now for the weather: tonight partly cloudy with a sticky 80 degrees. For tomorrow: slightly muggy with a 50% chance of showers.
In the world today: The Bank of America Corp. said Friday it would cut as many as 10,000 jobs as it changes its focus from growing through mergers to becoming more profitable through use of technology and operating efficiency.
And finally tonight, a report from the remote village of Samair, India, where four villagers are dead after contracting a mysterious flu-like illness. Doctors are continuing their investigation into the deaths.”
It’s not influenza, but 3 or 4 fellows are dead. It’s kind of interesting actually. They’re sending some doctors over there to investigate it. After a few days have passed, you’ve forgotten all about it, but on Sunday while you’re coming home from church, you hear another radio spot:
“What began with four villagers just days ago has now spread to over 30,000 people in the back hills of India. The center for Disease Control in Atlanta announced today that they are sending in a team of doctors to investigate and analyze this apparent new strain of flu. Officials from the CDC also reported that a main priority for the team would be to try and contain the outbreak before it spreads to the surrounding countries.
By Monday morning when you get up, it’s the lead story:
“The “mystery flu” as it is now known has spread to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. The U.S. President released a statement today saying that he joins everyone in praying for the people of the infected countries and he is confident that all will go well in containing the outbreak and finding a cure. The president announced that the U.S. will provide medical aid to the countries that face this outbreak.
We have just received word that the president of France has closed all borders to that country. No flights from India, Pakistan, or any of the countries where this “mystery flu” has been reported will be allowed into the country. However, this action may have been taken to late; we have just confirmed that there is a man lying in a hospital room in Paris apparently dying of flu like symptoms. The “mystery flu” has hit Europe.”
Panic strikes! As best they can tell, once you get it, you have it for a week and you don’t know it. Then, you have four days of unbelievable symptoms. Then, you die. Britain closes its borders, but it’s too late. It’s already in South Hampton, Liverpool, and North Hampton. On Tuesday morning, the President addresses the Nation:
“We interrupt this program to bring you a special news bulletin. The President of the United States is preparing to address the nation. We now go live to the White House”
“My fellow Americans, due to a national security risk, all flights to and from Europe and Asia have been canceled. If you have loved ones that are overseas, they will have to stay there until we contain or find a cure for this “mystery flu”. I ask all Americans to pray that a quick resolution to this situation can be found.”
Within 4 days, our Nation has been plunged into an unbelievable fear. People are selling little masks for your face. People are talking about what will happen if the “mystery flu” comes to this country, and preachers on Tuesday are saying, “It’s the scourge of God.” It’s Wednesday night, and you are at a church prayer meeting when somebody runs in from the parking lot and says, “Quick, turn on a radio!”
And while the church listens to a little transistor radio with a microphone stuck up to it, the announcement is made:
“We can now confirm that there are two women in a Long Island hospital dying of the “mystery flu”. Within hours, it is expected to spread across the county. The center for disease control announced that it has personnel working around the clock to find a vaccine for this new deadly strain of flu. We now have reports of outbreaks in California, Oregon, Arizona, Florida and Massachusetts. It’s as though it’s sweeping in from the borders.”
In a desperate effort to slow the spread of the disease, the President institutes Martial Law. It seems like forever that you are locked up in your house with plastic taped over the windows and ventilation ducts. Nobody is allowed outside but the military patrolling the streets and men in yellow environmental suits going from door to door collecting bodies and loading them onto large flatbed trucks to be taken away and burnt. Things seem very bleak. You and your family spend hours praying for salvation to come. Just when things seem their bleakest, a ray of light pierces the darkness. As you are listening to the new updates on the radio, an announcement comes across the emergency broadcasting system
“This is not a test. I repeat, this is not a test. The President of the United States has activated the emergency broadcasting system to announce that a cure for the mystery flu can be found. The code has been broken, and a vaccine can be made. It’s going to take the blood of someone who hasn’t been infected, and so the President is asking all Americans to go to your local hospital and have a blood sample taken. It’s imperative that everyone be tested. We thank you in advance for your cooperation in this time of national emergency.”
You go to the hospital and stand around scared with your neighbors, wondering what in the world is going on and if this is the end of the world. Suddenly, a young lady comes running out of the hospital screaming. She’s yelling a name and waving a clipboard. What? She yells it again! Your son tugs on your jacket and says, “Daddy, that’s me!”
Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy. “Wait a minute, hold it!”
“It’s okay. His blood is clean. His blood is pure. We want to make sure he doesn’t have the disease. We think he’s got the right type!”
Five tense minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses, crying and hugging one another – some are even laughing. It’s the first time you have seen anybody laugh in a week. An old doctor walks up to you.
“Thank you, sir. Your son hasn’t contracted the disease. His blood type is perfect. It’s clean. It is pure, and we can use it to make the vaccine.”
As the word begins to spread all across the parking lot full of folks, people are screaming and praying and laughing and crying. But then the gray-haired doctor pulls you and your wife aside.
“May we see you for a moment? We didn’t realize that the donor would be a minor, and we need you to sign a consent form.”
You begin to sign and then you see that the number of pints of blood to be taken is empty. “H-h-how many pints?” And that is when the old doctor’s smile fades.
“We had no idea it would be a little child. We weren’t prepared. We need it all!”
“You don’t understand. We are talking about the whole world here! Please sign. There is no other way! We need it all. Will you sign?”
In numb silence, you do. They offer you a moment alone with your son before they begin. Can you walk back? Can you walk back to that room where he sits on a table to answer his question, “Daddy? Mommy? What’s going on?”
Can you take his hands and say, “Son, your mommy and I love you very much, and we would never ever let anything happen to you that didn’t just have to be. Do you understand that?”
When that old doctor comes back in and says, “I’m sorry, we’ve – we’ve got to get started. People all over the world are dying!”
Can you leave? Can you walk out while your son is saying, “Dad? Mom? Why are you leaving me?”
Next week, when they have the ceremony to honor your son, some folks sleep through it, some don’t come because they go to the lake, and some come with a pretentious smile and just pretend to care. Would you want to jump up and say?
“My son died! Don’t you care?”
Is that what God wants to say?
“My son died! Don’t you know how much I care?”