Holding Things Together

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“I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

Here’s a line from the Bluegrass singer, Merle Haggard, that caught my attention; “Holding things together ain’t no easy thing to do.” That cuts to the quick. Countless hours are invested into relationships yet they still fall apart. Plans get kyboshed by unforeseen circumstances. Gas prices soar, stocks plummet, climates warm, cheques bounce, microwaves go on the fritz, laptops get viruses, cancer attacks, water is polluted, storms knock out power grids, people get laid off, and much more.

No matter what we do or how hard we work things still fall apart. Technology isn’t fail safe, think tanks may do their best, money is no safeguard, and governments even less. Haggard’s got it right. “Holding things together ain’t no easy thing to do.”

Yet while we struggle to hold things together the universe stays intact, the sun still rises, tides go in and out, flowers grow, and birds sing. So if we’re not holding things together, who is? The Bible provides the answer: “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” Colossians 1:16-17. I’ve often wondered about the last part of this text. How does God hold all things together?

Enter laminin. According to the online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, laminin is a cell adhesion molecule. It is the sheets of protein that form the substrate of all internal organs, also called the “basement membrane”. It has four arms that can bind to four other molecules. The three shorter arms are particularly good at binding to other laminin molecules, which is what makes it so great at forming sheets. The long arm is capable of binding to cells, which helps anchor the actual organs to the membrane . . . an integral part of the structural scaffolding in almost every animal tissue . . . vital to making sure overall body structures hold together.

So God holds me together with laminin. It’s the “glue” of the human body. Without laminin I’d fall apart. My knee bone stays connected to my thigh bone because of laminin. Which is why, like the psalmist, I need to give praise where praise is due and thank God “because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” Psalm 139:14.

But I’ve kept the best of the story for the ending. There’s something else I need to tell you about laminin. When seen under an electron microscope, it’s shaped like a cross. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Christ died on the Cross of Calvary to provide the “glue” that binds us to God. For those with eyes to see, laminin reminds us that God holds all living things together by the cross!

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