Wonderfully Made

We all remember how, during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, swimmer Michael Phelps made history by winning 8 gold medals, surpassing Mark Spitz’s 7 swimming gold medals in the 1972 Munich Olympics. It was without question one of the greatest achievements in sports history. What was interesting to me, however, was a television piece that was done on Phelps’ physiology. Sports medicine folks said that, if you were to use a computer to design the perfect body type for competitive swimming—you would end up with something eerily similar to Michael Phelps. He is tall (6’4”), but has extra long arms giving him extra wingspan and more leverage. Additionally, he has over-sized feet and hands, providing large paddles with which to propel himself. But even beyond that, his muscle structure is such that his muscles are slower to create lactic acid—meaning that he can push himself longer and harder without his muscles fatiguing. It is nothing short of amazing the degree to which his body is perfectly made for his sport.

Michael Phelps Breaking 400 IM World Record

Michael Phelps Breaking 400 IM World Record - Photo by Brian Ethridge

But the wonder of his physiology is not something that only relates to Phelps. In Psalm 139, the psalmist describes at length how each of us have been formed by God and made for His purposes. David celebrates that as he says, “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm139:14) The millions of parts that constitute the human body and work silently and (usually) seamlessly day in and day out, give testimony to a Creator who has designed us. Fingers and hands made of bone and muscle and tissue and tendon work together to accomplish tasks both great and small. It really is a marvelous thing. So, whether it is the simple act of picking up a pen to write a note, or watching world-class athletes compete in sport at the highest level, the marvel of the human body should remind us of the Creator who has made us—fearfully and wonderfully!

Bill Crowder, Sport Spectrum Chaplain