I recently returned home from visiting family in North Carolina and had a wonderful time with them. While there, my son-in-law came down with a cold. Then my daughter caught it. And about the time I was leaving my granddaughters were showing symptoms. I guessed, correctly, that I was next in line. Driving home it started with the scratchy throat and progressed to the sniffles and a sore throat. Now I'm going through Kleenex like Sherman through Georgia. I’ve got a good old fashioned head cold.
Technically, I’ve been invaded by a rhinovirus. And based on past experience, give me about seven days and all will be right again with me and world. God created my body in such an amazing way that it will eventually overcome this virus and the symptoms will leave and my health will return. It is amazing to think about what’s happening right now as I recover. The virus that is causing all my problems is a thousand times smaller than a bacteria and is little more that a soccerball of RNA covered by protein. It enters my body because someone sneezed or coughed on me. Or, perhaps more likely, I touched someone or something, got the virus on my fingers and then rubbed my nose or eyes. (WASH YOUR HANDS!) Once inside of me, the virus attaches to a healthy cell and hijacks the replication process forcing the cell to produce more of the virus. Eventually the cell explodes and multiple virus copies are released and the process repeats itself exponentially.
My situation would be hopeless except for the wondrous immune system God designed and created in me. When the virus enters my body, the intruder alert goes out and a war begins. The fever and chills I had one night . . . a sure sign of the inflammation that results from virus fighting cells and proteins in the immune system going on the attack. All the mucous (what a yucky word, forgive me) is being produced as the result of an enzyme being released by my white blood cells for the purpose of trapping the virus. The aches and soreness . . . protein is being pulled from my muscles to help in waging the war. So thank God for white blood cells (your body produces about a million of them everyday in your bone marrow) that eventually shut down the virus reproduction. And then, amazingly, when the last of the virus is gone, a few of them “hang around” retaining a memory of the destroyed virus which helps with immunity if the same virus returns in future.
And this is just one of perhaps thousands of biochemical processes that go one inside of me every day, awesomely complex and mostly unnoticed. Food is digested, energy is produced and distributed, wastes are removed, cells in my brain are firing giving me vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, motion and all the rest. My heart beats; my lungs breathe. It is so easy to take it all for granted until something goes wrong.
Remembering all of this (memory is another amazing design feature) called to mind this passage of scripture:
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you because I AM FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE; your works are wonderful, My soul knows that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
– Ps 139:13-16
Honestly, my soul isn’t enjoying this cold. This morning I have a deep frog in my sore throat, my nose is raw, my head feels like it’s full of cotton . . . you know the drill. But there is a part of me that will praise the Lord and be thankful for His goodness and faithfulness because I am his skillful creation. How awesome to realize what provision he has made to daily bless me in this amazing body of mine.