If you recall, last week I was asked to substitute teach for my mother who was sick with the flu. I taught five class hours in total, all of which were on the subject of Biology. I'll tell you right now that I'm not much of a science person (sorry, Mom!). Don't get me wrong. I think God's world and His many creations are wonderful and exciting, but when it comes down to understanding how and why they function, I get a tad bored. It's just not my thing.
So, when I first looked at the lessons she had prepared, I couldn't help but make ugly faces. The first couple of hours were an introduction to the class and information about the differences between creationism and evolutionism. No problem. I could handle that. But then, the studies moved on to the topic of cells. What are cells? How do they function? What are the various parts of the cell and what do each of them do? I drew a blank. Sure, I took Biology in high school and again in college, but I'll be honest, I had a bit of the "when will I ever use this in real life?" attitude and was mostly concerned with learning enough to ace the class and move on to a topic that better suited my likes and personality. Now that was coming back to bite me in the...well, you know.
In the end, I did what any self-respecting substitute would do--I studied a lot! I tried to make sure I knew the information backward and forward so I could teach the college students what they needed to know and possibly even act like I was excited about the topic (again, sorry, Mom!). The entire time, I kept thinking, I wish this were a Bible class. I love teaching the Bible. That is something I can really get into. Little did I know there was a Biblical application awaiting me in my lecture on cells.
Allow me to introduce the cell membrane (sometimes called the plasma membrane). This little guy acts as both barrier and gatekeeper to every cell. It has two primary functions: to give the cell structure and to protect the cell from enemies both within and without.
Think of the cell membrane as the wall surrounding a medieval castle (now we're speaking my language). This wall gives structure to the castle and everything else within its barrier. It also keeps out the enemy. But here's the cool part. The cell membrane has a sort of drawbridge feature which selectively allows things in and out of the cell as needed. When the cell has damaged or dead parts it needs to get rid of, the "drawbridge" opens and allows the harmful substances to safely pass through, exiting the cell. Also, when the cell needs something, it can allow entrance via the drawbridge to substances that are beneficial for its survival or growth. But when enemies of the cell try to make their way into the cell's interior, the "drawbridge" slams shut and keeps the bad guys out. Pretty neat, huh?
Does that cell membrane remind you of anyone? Perhaps our Heavenly Father who gives structure and purpose to our lives? Yes, like the cell membrane, He supports us and keeps us from falling apart. And like the cell membrane, He selectively allows things to pass through in and out of our lives. He knows what's best for us and what we need (even if that isn't really what we want). He sees the harmful habits or relationships we need to get rid of as well as the enemies that are threatening to attack us from without. In that complete knowledge of past, present, and future, He chooses what can and cannot pass. He acts like that drawbridge, protecting us from harm and only allowing those things that will be beneficial to us in the long run.
Isn't this what we discovered in our study on the names of God a few months ago? God is our refuge, our fortress, our shield and so much more. If He has allowed something in our life or taken something away, we can trust and know it is for our ultimate good. God is in the business of protecting His children just as the cell membrane protects its various elements.
I've heard it said (more than once) that I can come up with a Bible lesson out of anything, but I don't think that's true. It's not me. I believe God is so wonderful that He has placed spiritual lessons all throughout the world (and our lives) for us to find if we'll only pay attention to what He's trying to show us. Even in a tiny cell membrane, God placed a reminder of his fervent protection of us. Maybe Biology is not so bad after all!