By Stan Key
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14).
It may sound incredibly trite but I am going to say it anyway: the human body is truly amazing. To write such words is to state the obvious; a waste of time for both writer and reader, right? I suppose I could say the same thing about a sunrise, a snowflake, a dandelion, or the Milky Way. There is a lot of “amazing” stuff out there. But watching Katy’s body respond to the terrible stroke she suffered one month ago has given me a whole new respect for the miracle our bodies truly are. When they are working well, we take them for granted and easily get bored by thinking about the routine functions they perform. But when disease or traumatic injury strikes so that the body no longer functions as it normally does, we have the privilege of pausing to meditate on the amazing gift God has given to each one of us. Consider:
Swallowing. We do it hundreds of times a day and never stop to consider what a complex function this is involving saliva, chewing, tongue, gag reflex, determining which pipe the food goes down, and the amazingly complex wave-like muscle contractions that move food down the esophagus toward the stomach (peristalsis). When just one of those elements is not working correctly, you simply can’t swallow. When Katy regained the ability to sip a milk shake, we danced for joy!
Wiggling your toes. Last week the physical therapist said to Katy, “OK, now look at the toes on your left foot and tell them to move.” Katy dutifully obeyed, staring hard at her limp foot. “I am, I am!” she said with tears in her eyes. But nothing moved. Again I had the privilege of pondering the miracle of engineering that our bodies are and to think of the hundreds and thousands of signals and impulses traveling over miles of nerves and muscles to enable our bodies to perform the myriad of functions they do every day. I’ll never play “This Little Piggy Goes to Market” with my grandchildren the same way again!
Electrolytes. Before Katy’s crisis I didn’t even know we had them! And yet without them our bodies are unable to send the electrical impulses that make life possible. When Katy’s electrolytes were out of balance, nothing worked quite the way it was supposed to. Indeed, her life was in danger.
Peripheral vision. Katy’s right brain injury makes looking left very hard to do. The doctors call it “left side neglect”. She simply does not see things that are toward the left side of her field of vision unless she is told to consciously make the effort to do so. Katy’s humor showed itself again when she grinned lopsidedly at her physical therapist and said snidely, “I’ve never wanted to look to the Left anyway!”
Balance and equilibrium. Stroke patients find it hard to sit up straight and often can be seen leaning to one side or the other. Think about this. What keeps any of us vertical or able to maintain our balance? Why don’t we all tilt right and feel the nausea and dizziness that Katy does?
You get the idea. Things that our bodies do routinely we often take for granted and fail to recognize the miracle of grace that they represent. The irreducible complexity of our amazing bodies should cause all of us to daily fall on our faces and worship the One who created us! Meditating on Katy’s physical challenges, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about those atheists and evolutionists who pretend that these bodies are simply the result of random processes over long periods of time. Really? It takes a lot of faith to be an atheist!
Prayer: Father God, today as I wiggle my toes, swallow my food, and stand erect, help me to worship you in humble gratitude for the wonders you have so lavishly bestowed. For those today who are struggling with disease and physical maladies, we pray that you would send your grace to heal them and restore them to health. Specifically, we ask you to touch Katy, as you touched the sick when you walked among us. Raise her up and let her body perform once again as you so beautifully designed it to do! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
P.S. We have not yet heard final word on insurance and discharge dates. We will know tomorrow and will try keep you posted as it all unfolds. Please keep praying with us for an extension at Cardinal Hill! None of us, including Katy, feel ready for a move to another facility tomorrow. But we trust the Lord for His perfect timing.