(a personal psalm)
(I will praise you;
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:
marvelous are your works;
and that my soul knows right well.
–Psalm 139:14, King James Bible 2000)
I do praise you, oh God, for the breathtaking wonder of the human body.
You put together trillions of cells that perform a multitude of functions in one harmonious whole.
As each of us was formed in our mothers’ wombs, you carefully engineered the transformation of cells into:
- blood vessels—an estimated 60,000 miles of them.
- more than 600 individual skeletal muscles. Two hundred of them are required for just one step—an indication of the complexity of the muscular system.
- organs, including the liver. Scientists have discovered five hundred functions for this highly important body part that we rarely think about.
- The heart–strong and reliable enough to beat more than 2.5 billion times over an average lifespan.
Within each cell nucleus is the DNA double helix, just 80 billionths of an inch long, yet “comprised of chemical bases arranged in approximately 3 billion precise sequences. Even the DNA molecule for a single-celled bacterium, E. coli, contains enough information to fill all the books in any of the world’s largest libraries.”*
(Model of the DNA double-helix)
Once this amazing organism called “human” begins functioning, you, oh God, orchestrate more wonder:
- Nerve impulses travel to and from the brain at 170 miles per hour.
- Noses (in conjunction with the brain) begin cataloging up to 50,000 scents.
- The heart pumps the equivalent of 2,000 gallons of blood through the vessels every day.
- The blood circulates through the body three times every minute.
- Cell replacement must occur frequently. Approximately 25 million new cells are being produced every second.
Yet the wonder continues. You’ve given us the power to think and reason.
- All the grooves or wrinkles in the brain provide more surface area, which equates to more processing power within the small confines of the skull.
- The brain is surrounded in fluid that acts like a cushion in case of impact, and as a barrier in case of disease.
- More than 100,000 chemical reactions occur in the brain every second.
- The brain contains billions of neurons that send electrical and chemical messages to the body. If all the neurons were lined up end to end, they’d stretch 600 miles.
- And for each neuron there are 1000 to 10, 000 synapses.
But you, oh God, weren’t finished yet! You created within each of us wonderful and unique abilities. Just among our family you’ve designed a (n):
- imaginative artist,
- caring school psychologist,
- attention-holding preacher,
- passionate psychiatrist,
- self-taught tech wizard, and
- talented graphics designer
(2010 — Shame on us for not having
a more recent photo of the whole family!)
How glorious to contemplate, O Lord, the breathtaking wonder of how we’re made. Hearts keep pumping, lungs keep breathing, nerve impulses keep sending messages–without a single voluntary thought. Our brains are capable of learning and storing an enormous amount of information. And everything works together in perfect unity.
I cannot begin to fathom your creativity, expert engineering, and attention to detail. Even if we were identical robots, we would have to stand in awe of your holy genius.
But you have made each person unique, designed to fulfill a specific purpose.
May I live close to you in order to be transformed day by day into the one you designed me to be.