The “Language of God” is in our DNA

Chemo room 1997. Photo credit Steve Lock.

After I became a patient advocate for Dr. Marc Hirsh in 1996, I discovered I was in for a real education. I was working for the first time in a medical office and constantly had to ask the nurses to explain medical jargon.

What’s a DVT? I thought he had a blood clot?

“He does. It stands for deep vein thrombosis.”

Oh. Why not BC for blood clot?

One day I noticed our head nurse Ruth had written “SOB” next to a patient’s name on the daily schedule. I was curious why she would make such a disparaging comment about the gentleman who didn’t seem cranky to me.

When  I asked her about it–and she finally stopped laughing–Ruth explained “SOB” stood for “short of breath!”

I eventually learned to speak the “lingo” and even tried to impress my husband with dinner conversation.

ME: “We thought there was nothing  to help her, but the immunohistochemistry showed KIT positive and it’s a GIST so we can use a tyrosine kinase inhibitor! Isn’t that great?”

MY HUBBY: “Could you please pass the salt?”

National Human Genome Research Institute

But even better than deciphering the “secret” language of health professionals has been discovering the human body’s amazing intricacies.

In fact our bodies are so complex that in some ways I’m not as surprised they break down as I am that they don’t break down more often!

The Human Genome Project completed in 2003 identified the 20,000+ genes in the human body and sequenced the 3 billion chemical base pairs that comprise our DNA or hereditary code of life.

The head of the project, Dr. Francis Collins (who recently retired as National Institutes of Health director) explains that the DNA in each human is 3 billion letters long and written in a “strange and cryptographic four-letter code.”

The code is so complex, Collins says, that if someone were to read it out loud at three letters per second, it would take 37 years!

Collins is one of the world’s leading scientists and also a man of Christian faith who calls our DNA “the language of God.”

“We have caught the first glimpse of our own instruction book, previously known only to God,” Collins said when the genome project’s completion was announced.

He later wrote: “Science is not threatened by God; it is enhanced. God is most certainly not threatened by science; He made it all possible.”

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it!
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb
How precious are you thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up, you are still with me! Psalm 139:13-15, 17-18

Whether we feel like our body has “let us down” or we discover our DNA includes an unwanted genetic mutation, I hope we still will praise our marvelous Creator who never leaves us or forsakes us even when our health does. (And don’t forget that one day we get to trade these temporary “tents” for immortal bodies with no sorrow or pain. Oh, what a day that will be!)
Be sure to open in your browser to hear the classic song “Indescribable” by Chris Tomlim. I encourage you to add your voice in praise.  (If it doesn’t open, please use this link

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