Marvel IV

Marvel vb \‘märv-ǝl\ : to become filled with surprise, wonder, or amazed curiosity

Having nothing to do with science.

Last week I posted that I had just finished my first year in Med School. This is just a little bit of an elaboration.

First in line is a little back ground. For all those who would believe that being a doctor is my life-long dream, you are wrong. For all those who think that I am doing all this for that doctor “lifestyle,” wrong also. I didn’t want to go to med school. I didn’t want to be a doctor. I just wanted to be a regular guy living in a regular town with a regular wife and some regular kids. I didn’t want any of this action. I didn’t have any aspirations or ambitions.

I also had no passions.

Then one day, on the mission field, the Lord called me into mission work. Now I’m not saying that I got some fuzzy feeling in my chest somewhere and that was the calling. I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying that He made real to me the need for his Word and Truth and Grace in the world. I already understood that missions was what he commanded. And I was going to do some of that in my life. But it was then that I realized that my whole life’s purpose was supposed to be centered around the Great Commission – making disciples of all nations.

I would point out here that the Great Commission is for every believer. Not just some weird people (like me) who had no plans without it. If Christ’s call to cast your burdens on him and let him be your rest is a call for every believer, then his call to make disciples of all nations is too.

So I prayed about different things. Seminary was one. But the Lord shut every door to me except the one that he had already opened. I was in college at the time. I was pre-med (but I had no idea why). Now everything made sense to me. I knew the path that I was on was a path that God was making.

Fast forward to med school. It is hard. It is real hard. We have between 20 and 25 hours of classes every week, and these are 800 level classes. For those of you who think that some people are smart and stuff like this is easy for us, you are wrong. It takes studying. Its hard work. There were days I didn’t think I could go on. There were times when I didn’t think I would pass. There were times when I doubted the Lord’s call on my life and I doubted that he could even bring me through. I was wrong. He is a strong and mighty warrior.

There were times when I put my relationship with my wife after my studies. I was wrong. For that I am sorry. And the Lord is good to forgive. Thankfully, my wife, Maryem, is also.

As I posted earlier in a very short post, last week, I took my last test of my first year. What a relief it is! What a joy to be done with one year! I’m a year older. I feel ten years older. But I know that I could not have made it without the Lord. He gets the credit and the glory. To him is all my hearts joy. I just have to marvel, I just have to stand amazed at how good the Lord is. He is faithful and he is good. I have to stand in wonder at how good our God really is.

Marvel III

Marvel vb \‘märv-ǝl\ : to become filled with surprise, wonder, or amazed curiosity

Molecular biology is sometimes the most mundane of the sciences …but sometimes it simply astounds.

Cholesterol – everybody’s got it. The body constantly balances the cholesterol levels by attempting to maintain homeostasis. Intake and synthesis of cholesterol is normally balanced with degradation (into bile acid) and excretion of cholesterol. If you didn’t get that: when you eat cholesterol you’re body converts cholesterol to bile acid and gets rid of it. When you dont eat it, your body makes its own. This is how we balance. Its called homeostasis.

The main step, the hump in the process, of cholesterol synthesis is controlled by an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase. Never mind what all those letters mean. In short, its a protein in your body for making cholesterol.

When cholesterol levels in the cells are low, a protein called SREBP (sterol responsive element binding protein) is cut off from another protein. It travels into the cell nucleus where it hooks to DNA and says to the other proteins “Hey, I’m important! Come manufacture some stuff.” That stuff would be the aforementioned HMG-CoA Reductase. So the appropriate “machinery” makes haste to that spot of DNA, it manufactures some “stuff” and the cell is happy. The newly manufactured HMG-CoA Reductase then goes to make up some good ole cholesterol. (Cholesterol is very important even though some of us avoid it like the plague.)

As long as SREBP is hanging out with DNA, HMG CoA Reductase is getting churned out. But pretty soon, cholesterol levels in the cell get pretty high. Then its time to put on the brakes.

When Cholesterol levels rise, these other things called “oxysterols” are formed. We dont care what oxysterols are. We just care what they do. They go and get the SREBP and say “hey, thats enough of you sounding the alarm. Just chill out for a while.” And, like a good little boy, SREBP pulls itself away from the DNA. HMG-CoA Reductase levels drop. Cholesterol synthesis s-l-o-w-s down. And everybody is happy.

According to my professor, “it really is an ingenious way” to moderate cholesterol levels.

I find it quite amazing. And I can’t even see it. I have to think about God making this stuff up who knows how long ago and just watching it. And all along, its just waiting for humans to discover it and say Wow. Truly God is amazing to have created such and “ingenious” control device in the cell. Just think of how creative this God must be. Oh, he’s artistically creative. You can see that in a Pacific sunset. But he is also incredibly practical in his creativity. Divinely amazing. What an incredible Creator we have!