I’m not sick at the moment, but cold and flu season is on the way and I thought I might do what I can, on the front end, to make the time you spend ill (in the health sense, not in the Beastie Boys sense) a little more pleasurable.
When I am sick, one of the things I inevitably spend time doing is contemplating how incredible it is that our bodies have been designed with a built-in response mechanism that detects and then reacts to potentially harmful microorganisms. And it is astounding to me that the body is built to do all of this involuntarily. Odd as it may sound, when I contemplate all the thousands of things that have to happen in my body; how many things have to work together just right to accomplish thousands and thousands of small but diverse tasks; how many micro-processes have to work to perfection again and again just in order to rid me of the common cold, I am moved to worship the God who put together such an incredibly intricate and effective machine. It is awe-inspiring to me that even with all the advances of the biological, biochemical and medical sciences, there are still millions of things about the human body that are unknown and poorly understood to the most proficient and celebrated scientists – things that are the simplest matters for God.
I am reminded of these passages from The Institutes:
“To investigate the motions of the heavenly bodies, to determine their positions, measure their distances, and ascertain their properties, demand skill…and where these are so employed, as the providence of God is thereby more fully unfolded, so it is reasonable to suppose that the mind takes a loftier flight, and obtains brighter views of His glory. Still, none who have the use of their eyes can be ignorant of the divine skill manifested so conspicuously in the endless variety, yet distinct and well-ordered array, of the heavenly host; and therefore, it is plain that the Lord has furnished every man with abundant proofs of his wisdom. The same is true in regard to the structure of the human frame. …The human body bears on its face such proofs of ingenious contrivance as are sufficient to proclaim the admirable wisdom of its Maker.
But herein appears the shameful ingratitude of men. Though they have in their own persons a factory where innumerable operations of God are carried on, instead of bursting forth in his praise, as they are bound to do, they, on the contrary, are the more inflated and swelled with pride. …Can anything be more detestable than this madness in man, who, finding God a hundred times both in his body and his soul, makes his excellence in this respect a pretext for denying that there is a God?
…Let each of us, therefore, in contemplating his own nature, remember that these is one God who governs all natures, and, in governing, wishes us to have respect to himself, to make him the object of our faith, worship, and adoration. Nothing, indeed, can be more preposterous than to enjoy those noble endowments which bespeak the divine presence within us, and to neglect him who, of his own good pleasure, bestows them upon us” (52-5).