I always thought skeletons were ugly. This is probably because I associated them with less-than-desirable things like the pagan holiday of Halloween and people trying to scare the wits out of me. I remember going to the store around the time of Halloween when I was younger and staring at the skeletons crudely decorating the walls. That is inside of me?! I thought. I don’t like that. It’s hideous! Regardless of the slightly terrifying and unfortunate connotation attached to skeletons, bones are another one of God’s most essential and astonishing creations.
Our bones don’t just form a stiff skeleton that prevents our equally awesome organs from slipping out of us and sliding to the ground in a gooey pile. Bones are an essential part of everything we do every day. For example, a bone called the stapes—the smallest bone in the body—works with two other tiny, delicate bones to allow you to hear. These three small bones cause the eardrum to vibrate when sound waves travel into the ear. When the eardrum starts vibrating, the little bones help sound to move along into the inner ear.
It’s a common misconception to think that bones have only one job—to hold us together—but here are a few essential jobs that your bones do for you that you might not be aware of:
Okay, so we know about this one. Obviously, our bones make up our skeletons, which provide us with the protection our brains and other vital organs need. For example, your ribs protect your lungs and organs from dangerous projectiles like baseballs flying through the air. Your skull protects your brain from injury as well. If you didn’t have a skull, you probably would have died the first time you accidentally hit your head on the ceiling fan when getting down from your bunk bed.
Bones also help trap dangerous minerals (like lead) that can find their way into your body. They can also help protect you from acidosis, which is a condition where your body fluids and tissues become too acidic.
The support your bones provide is similar to the function of the framing of a house when it’s under construction. When a house is being built, the workers raise the wooden frame first before they get into the electrical and wiring nitty gritty. It’s the same with bones. Bones provide the framework necessary for the attachment of muscles and other tissues, just like the frame of a house provides the structure that is needed for the electrical wires. If you didn’t have bones, you’d just be a mass of muscle and tissue—kind of like an awkwardly muscular jellyfish.
And just in case you didn’t feel supported enough, your bones also provide the structural support that your heart, lungs and marrow need.
If you place your left thumb right above the middle of the top of your right wrist and then slowly move your right hand up and down, you should feel the movement that is taking place in your joints. Your bones provide the leverage needed for essential bodily movements. They also provide a place for your muscles to attach. Could you imagine trying to accomplish everyday tasks without the use of your bones and joints? Even the most enjoyable of circumstances—like eating a cookie—would be ridiculously difficult.
Mineral and Energy Storage
Here’s a fun fact: Roughly 99 percent of the calcium and 85 percent of the phosphorus inside your body is contained within your bones. Calcium and phosphorus are both essential minerals for your body’s health. Your bones act as a reservoir for these two minerals and others like magnesium and fluoride. Whenever we don’t consume the amount of calcium or phosphorus that our bodies need from the food we eat, our bodies go to our bones and take out however much is needed to get us back in balance. This is why it’s a good idea to eat foods such as dairy products (got milk?) and dark, leafy vegetables to make sure your bones are healthy enough to stay strong.
Your bones also store energy. Your bone marrow is where new blood cells are produced. There are two kinds of bone marrow: yellow marrow and red marrow. Yellow marrow produces some white blood cells, but it also is where your body stores certain lipids, like fats, for when your body needs them. Red marrow is where red blood cells, platelets and most white blood cells are developed. So, your bones actually have a big impact on your blood as well.
What to Do
By taking all of this information into consideration, it should be pretty easy to see that our bones are very important. God designed them to play an incredible part in our body’s intricate function. So what can we do to make sure these processes continue as smoothly as possible?
Eat right and exercise!
As mentioned before, eating nutritious foods like dark, leafy vegetables and dairy foods such as milk and cheese will help provide your bones with the necessary vitamins and minerals they crave. Another nutrient-rich food you can drink that will help is bone broth. Bone broth will provide minerals, collagen gelatin and other awesome, necessary things that will not only help your bones, but so many other bodily processes as well. Your bones will almost literally thank you.
What about exercise? Even though our bones are as light as wood, they have the same strength as cast iron. Despite this amazing strength, they can break down over time from depletion and normal wear and tear. Exercise is one way that we can make our bones stronger. It can build bones back up in a fascinating way. When performing weight-bearing exercises such as walking, running, jumping, and lifting weights, a tiny amount of damage is done to our bones. New bone is then laid down to repair the damage, causing the bone to become denser and stronger. This process has been likened to paving over potholes on a bumpy road (except for patching roads in Oklahoma—those just get worse). So the more you exercise properly and in moderation, the stronger your bones will become!
It’s incredible how all of the systems in our body work together in such intricate harmony. Bones are no exception. Despite having a slightly unpleasant appearance, they are another fascinating example of God’s imaginative and creative mind. Psalm 104:24 relates how God created all things in perfect wisdom. He was aware of every single need that we would have as physical human beings. So He provided each of us with a body that is an endless example of His power and elaborate mind.
After considering all of that … maybe skeletons aren’t so hideous after all.