My first real memory of looking into a microscope involved a layer of onion skin stained with a drop of iodine. After turning the knob to bring the purple structures into focus, I discovered cells, those too-tiny-to-see-without-help living building blocks that make up our bodies. Yet, even with magnification, I could only see the outline of each cell and faint squiggles of interior structures such as the nucleus. I could not see the tiny openings in the cell membrane that allow even smaller molecules like oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water to pass through.
Forgive the science lesson for a moment (I used to be a teacher prior to becoming a mother), but I have a point to make. There is a process at work in our cells called osmosis where a liquid solvent (usually water) passes through a semi-permeable membrane to an area of higher solute concentration.
In simpler terms, imagine a cell sitting in a puddle of sugar water. Let’s say there are 14 sugar molecules for every 10 water molecules in the puddle and only 6 sugar molecules for every 10 water molecules in the cell. Sugar can’t fit through the cell membrane but water can … so in an attempt to balance the solutions, water flows through the membrane toward the area with more sugar. If 4 water molecules move, there are now 14 sugar/14 water outside and 6 sugar/6 sugar inside. Equal ratios now exist because of the free flow of water through the membrane.
Cell membranes also have a few special proteins in them that serve as gatekeepers that allow other nutrients to enter or exit the cell. And for the biggest molecules the individual cell needs, the membrane actually collapses around it, forming a vesicle or pocket that is now found inside the cell.
All that our cells need for survival — water, ions, proteins, sugar, fats, and more — passes through the cell membrane like a filter. When it’s time to get rid of the junk, the cell membrane helps move it out into the blood stream where it can be carried away.
The same is true in life. All that we need — love, hope, a future, mercy, grace, forgiveness, opportunities to grow, responsibilities, relationships, provision — passes through the fingers of a loving God who is equally able to help remove our junk of sin, guilt, and shame. Too high a concentration of pain? Let His love flow in and dilute it. Feel enormously blessed? Let that love flow out to bless others.
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20 NIV)
Creation declares that, just like cell membranes, God filters and provides all that we need. And like osmosis, love flow to where it is needed most.
What about you? Have you ever looked at cells under a microscope? What nutrition is flowing into your life? Is there any junk you need to get rid of?