It’s flu season. Hospitals are at capacity. If you have the flu, you’re probably miserable. There’s no cure for it; it lasts one to two weeks; and your body just has to heal itself. There’s nothing that doctors and nurses can do to make you well. They just treat the symptoms. Your body has to heal itself. If it doesn’t, you die.
We have an amazing immune system! I’m perplexed as I try to imagine how in the world we could come pre-built from birth with a body that not only reproduces itself, but also fixes itself. Of course, we had to have an immune system from the beginning. Otherwise, the first germ that got into our body would continue to multiply until it killed us. Even the most perfect body would be dead within days. None of us would be here without a very complex immune system.
If you’re like me, you think of the immune system protecting us from germs that come into our body from other people who are sick. Actually, our digestive tract has trillions of microbes that need to stay in the digestive tract. I see the first role of our immune system as keeping microbes in the part of the body where they belong. Even if we didn’t have foreign germs, we would still need an immune system. It provides balance by identifying microbes and making sure they remain in their designated areas.
But, of course, we do have pathogens that invade our bodies from the outside. Our body checks itself just like computer programs check to authenticate programs that it runs. Our cells have chemical markers that let us know they belong to us. Foreign invaders do not have these markers and are destroyed. Our thymus trains cells to recognize what is “us” and “not us”. Lymphocytes also provide us with a memory of infections so that we can fight them off better next time. Our immune system is so very, very complex that I fail to appreciate all it takes for me to have a normal, healthy day.
Any one function of my body far surpasses my ability to understand it. We don’t think about all that is involved until one part breaks down and we suffer. While I’m still healthy, I want to stop and consider how much is involved in simply being alive. The person who believes in a Creator should take time to thank him for the ingenuity and care that went into making us. The person who believes that our body came about by chance should also take a moment to be thankful for being one of the luckiest beings in the universe.