Delicate Majesty: Of Flagella & Floods

2010/06/magntbacs.gif Photo ©Copyright/Courtesty of Photo of Magenetotactic Bacterium by Mikhail Vainshtein of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

This has been a week of contrasts for me, and is a topic I’ve written about before. But I never get over the mystery involved. Namely that of God’s powerful, forceful majesty somehow intersecting with His delicate touch displayed in the tiniest intricacies of His creation.

It begins with the fact that I’ve been taking this microbiology class. Everything I’m studying is down on microscopic level and the more I learn, the more fascinated I am by my Creator. Like, I learned recently that there’s actually a water-dwelling bacteria (Magnetotactic Bacterium) that contains little tiny magnets in it so it can ride the electromagnetic field waves up and down in it’s water habitat to receive oxygen at the top and food at the bottom (see photo of bacteria with tiny round magnets forming a line)!

Or how about the fact that that slime in the drain of your bathroom sink (and on your teeth-same chemical composition actually) is a little reinforced, “architectural” encasing for bacteria communities. It is not simply a formless blob of slime, but actually has constructed passageways for letting nutrients in for the bacteria to flourish, while letting out the waste products. You can actually see these intricate passageways in microscope photographs. The thing is…every microbe you study has these unique, detailed characteristics that are so miraculously spectacular-and TINY! Delicate. Ordered.

Normal Sink's Canyon River in July

Next the powerful majesty. This week our local river has been flooding for the first time in 50 years. Normally not much more than a glorified creek (compare river photo #1 taken mid summer, noticing the huge cave opening where the river disappears into an underground cavern a few miles upstream and is known as “the Sinks,” to photo #2 taken this morning where you cannot even see the cave opening), the river had turned into raging white water, consuming everything in its path. It uprooted whole trees, eroded 20-30 feet of banks, and flooded homes and entire low lying areas. While it is certainly devastating for those who incurred damage, there is also an element of attraction for all.

Sink's Canyon River flood stage June 2010

We happen to live near the river and the area where it flooded homes and streets. All day yesterday, you’d have thought the President was in town. There were cars lined up for blocks and blocks, unloading droves of people who were coming to gaze upon the swollen river overflowing its banks.

After loading sandbags along with many others in the community for a couple hours last night, I took a walk along the river, awed and fascinated by the transformation. One thing that was particularly inspiring was the sound of the boulders in the river. You could hear them moving. Boulders deep under the murky surface could be heard in low-pitched reverberations, rolling and crashing against each other, effortlessly as a game of marbles. Powerful stuff.

So again, while I don’t like the devastation, I do love the majesty, being reminded of how mighty and powerful God is as He manifests His divine nature through His awesomely wild displays in creation. And I also love His gentle, minute details, displayed in the delicate formation of the tiniest forms of life. He is so beyond awesome there are few words. Perhaps that is why He wants us to find Him personally by taking out the time to listen, watch, learn about, and experience Him through His creation. A textbook just doesn’t do Him justice.

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