During these two weeks of Olympic Games in Vancouver it has been fascinating to watch the athletes perform in their various venues. The speed of the runners and skaters, the grace of the figure skaters, the expertise of the skiers, the skills displayed in the hockey and curling events, were all amazing. It took literally years of intensive training to qualify the Olympic athletes for competition. Every muscle, tendon, ligament and nerve was tensed to deliver the perfect performance.
Some time ago I suffered a minor fall which resulted in some severely strained muscles and ligaments causing considerable pain during movement. The incident incited my thinking about how much of our bodies’ wonders we take for granted: The incredible complexity of the chemical elements and molecules, cells and tissues, organs and organ systems; the intricate separate but interconnected systems within the human body that are essential for its growth, energy, motion, reproduction, waste disposal, and activities of every conceivable kind; its ability to resist disease; and its ability to repair itself.
To consider the astronomical numbers of cells, neurons, connecting fibers, nerves, enzymes, hormones, proteins, veins, arteries, capillaries, ad infinitum, not to mention the complexity of the DNA of the human body is totally beyond comprehension!
Many body parts work unceasingly and imperceptibly, year after year. One rarely, if ever, thinks about his heart which goes on beating decade after decade. I, personally, am blessed in that, at the age of 82, I have experienced no trouble with my heart. Curious as to how many beats it will have made during all those years, using figures from the American Heart Association, I calculated it to be something over 3 billion, 1 million! According to the A.H.A., the average volume of blood pumped through the heart is 2,000 US gals. per day. For me, that would be 60 million gals. in my lifetime thus far!
English superlatives are inadequate to describe the marvels of
–The brain, an enormously complicated collection of billions of neurons, enabling it to think and remember, both at the conscious and subconscious levels;
–The lungs; amazing organs which supply the body with the oxygen needed for aerobic
metabolism and eliminate the waste product carbon dioxide;.
–The kidneys which remove wastes from more than 3 ½ million liters of blood;
–The more-than-amazing intricate engineering of the human eye, enabling it to adjust the focus to different distances, admit different amounts of light, and correct spherical and chromatic aberration;
–The human ear, another masterpiece of engineering, making it possible for us to hear and to communicate with one another through speech, and also helping us to keep our balance;
–The skin, the largest organ of the body, protecting the body, and regulating body temperature.
Each function of the body is a special study in itself:
–The reproductive system, the conception and development of new life, and its entry into the world;
–The skeletal system: consisting of about 200 bones, provides a strong framework that supports the body;
–The muscular system: consisting of more than 600 interwoven muscles and tendons, moves the body;
–The respiratory system: enables the body to breathe; to continually take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide;
–The circulatory system: moves blood throughout miles and miles of blood vessels, transporting food and oxygen to the cells;
–The digestive system: breaks down food into simple substances that the cells can use;
–The endocrine system: consisting of glands that regulate various body functions;
–The urinary system: removes various wastes from the blood and flushes them from the body;
–The nervous system: regulates and coordinates the activities of all the other systems of the body.
What is also most incredible is that all of these normal functions of a healthy body are done ‘automatically,’ most often without thought, or even awareness. We breathe, see, hear, smell, taste, and touch, subconsciously. Our hearts beat and our lungs breathe involuntarily. Our inward organs all work together spontaneously. Our muscles and tendons reflex automatically!
The latter is what incited my thinking: In my fall, apparently my muscles, automatically and instantaneously, tensed up to prevent injury, and the resulting pain reminded me that I use those muscles every time I lie down, sit down, stand up, or take a step. But because, normally, they do not hurt, I do not think of their essential presence and important service to my body!
We would do well to occasionally consider such everyday “normal” functions of our bodies more as “miraculous.” David did, when he wrote, “I will praise You, for I am FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made. MARVELLOUS are Your works, and that my soul knows right well! My substance was not hid from You when I was made in secret and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, yet being imperfect, and in Your book all my members were written which, in continuance, were fashioned when as yet there was none of them.” (Ps. 139:14-16)
Job confessed, “Your hands have made me and fashioned me together round about…You have knit me together with skin and flesh, and have fenced me with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and favor, and Your visitation has preserved my spirit.” (Job 10:8,11,12)
We human beings are the crowning glory of God’s material creation (Ps. 8:5,6; Heb. 2:6-11), and He has a special purpose for every single one — including YOU!
Now may the God of HOPE
make you full of joy and peace through faith,
so that all HOPE may be yours
in the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 15:13 Bible in Basic English)
In Agape, Eulene