The Strand of Life

I began a new devotional book today. Well it’s not new. In fact it’s quite old, and I’ve had a copy of it for years. It’s called “The Way to Power and Poise” and was written by E. Stanley Jones. But as I picked it up this morning, the very first reading blew me away.

Jones begins by proposing that living in “The Way”(what the early church was called in ancient days) is not just meant to be a transforming religious experience, but a bodily one as well. Jones asserts that evidence of the transformation in the lives of those who followed The Way is not just recorded in the Bible, but in biology as well. It’s written in our nerves, our blood, our tissues and organs, and the very organization and framework of life itself.

He asserts that the power and poise are not only necessary to spiritual health, but to physical health as well. The need for inner stability and balance is not merely spiritual but physical as well. Without inner stability, life would perish. If you think about it, every cell, every organ, every system in our bodies must be able to maintain inner stability and order or else disease occurs; and if the disorder is severe enough, then life ceases. Dis-ease represents a lack of inner stability.

Jones quotes a famous scientist who explains that in order for a living cell to maintain physical inner stability, a certain amount of excitability is required to make it “modifiable” or able to adapt. Mosby’s Medical Dictionary describes excitability as: the property of a cell that enables it to react to irritation or stimulation.

As I pondered this I realized that the longing for spiritual inner stability is universal among us; and it manifests as a deep desire – or a need – for what many call “inner peace”. Some try to achieve inner peace through spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation and Zen Buddhism. Others might employ physical activities such as hot baths, strolls along the seashore or through the forest, and listening to music. And sometimes, we even resort to using mood altering substances to try to achieve this inner stability.

But inner stability is not only a deep need required by our whole beings, body, mind and spirit; it is also something that God desires for us, spiritually, emotionally and bodily; and it is something that we can receive only from direct and intimate contact with Him. He created us with this need and desire because He desires for us to seek Him – the only One who can fulfill it.

The Hebrew word for this inner stability or peace that encompasses our minds, spirits and bodies is: Shalom. Shalom is not just a feeling of “inner peace” but a true, deep and abiding stability that permeates every aspect of our lives including our thoughts, our emotions, our bodies and our health; our finances, and our relationship to everyone and everything around us. It’s the kind of peace and inner stability that David described in Psalm 16, verses 8 and 9: I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.

As I read through the Psalm in its entirety I realized that faith is the means by which this shalom peace is achieved. As we trust completely in God, not only is our heart glad, but our whole being rejoices! That is every part of us, spiritual and physical. And the result of achieving shalom peace through faith in God’s love and goodness is health: “my flesh dwells secure”. Health is the inner stability and order of the body and all its cells, organs and systems. According to Hebrews 11:1, faith is real, it has substance. And like faith, shalom peace is also real; it’s tangible, it has substance and matter, and it too is proof of things unseen.

It is faith, and the Shalom it produces – the peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7) – that restores our body’s inner stability and order, and that of our mind as well. And when we have attained it, we “shall not be shaken” by what happens to us, or in the world around us.

As I sat soaking in the immensity of this revelation, I saw in my mind’s eye, a round, thin, cylindrical strand that formed a spiral. It was navy blue or purple in colour and floating freely around it, but attached to it in and orderly and invisible way were tiny pale blue orbs. It looked something like a DNA strand but didn’t have ladder-like rungs like the diagrams of DNA strands I’ve seen in some text books.

As I wrote about what I saw in my journal I asked the Lord what it represented and I heard the words, “strand of life” and sensed it had something to do with the ordering of the stability of all life. I asked if it was supposed to represent DNA and heard, “Yes, Daughter. It is the script, the code, for the order of life. It contains the instruction, the blueprint for life. Without it there would be no life. Without order, atoms would not come together to form molecules, and molecules would not comet together to form cells, and cells, organs, etc.”

I felt overwhelmed as I remembered looking at living cells through a microscope when I studied biology as a young woman. There is a miniature world contained within each and every tiny cell. As I gazed at a tall fir tree outside my window it boggled my mind to think that it is a living organism formed by the coming together, in order according to God’s design, of millions and billions and trillions of these infinitesimally tiny miniature worlds.

As living beings, we don’t have to give a single thought to the gathering together of molecules into cells, of cells into organs, of organs into the working systems of our bodies. We are free to live our lives and focus our minds on the world around us as our hearts beat out their rhythms, pumping the blood through our veins, which picks up molecules of oxygen from our lungs and carries it to each and every cell. While our digestive systems break down the food we eat  into molecules that are carried by our blood to every cell of our bodies where they are burned using the oxygen molecules to create the fuel our cells need to function, and our hearts need to beat, and our muscles need to move and our brains need to think! It’s all so mind-boggling!

What a wonderful gift it is to be alive! To have bodies that function perfectly outside of our thoughts and control. To have DNA which orders and instructs all of the miniscule cells that make up the organs and the systems within our bodies and tells them how to function and gather together, and how to rebuild themselves so that we can live and move and breathe and think and talk. How could anyone who has any knowledge of biology not believe that God exists? How can people be so blind not to see the work of a loving Creator who made us and cares for us, who gives order and stability to our bodies and our lives?

God, You are mighty beyond our wildest imaginings! And so often we take all that you’ve given us for granted. Help us to know You more! Give us eyes to see Your hand on our lives and your workmanship all around us. You are so good! I am grateful for the health You have given me, for the inner stability of my body and my life that come through faith in You. You desire Shalom peace for each and every one of us, in every aspect of our lives? May everyone who longs for inner stability find their needs satisfied by the joy of knowing You.

And may…the (Shalom) peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Catherine

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