A car-eating dinosaur garage and an attitude of gratitude

Janet and I have three grandsons and one granddaughter. Buying Christmas presents for our grandsons is easy—if it moves and can be made to crash into something, it will be popular. 

Take, for example, the garage / track / dinosaur contraption seen above. 

You can store up to a hundred cars on it. You can race them down the ramps to the bottom and onto tracks suspended from the garage in a variety of directions. You can divert them into areas of the garage for “service.” And you can crank the dinosaur to the top, release it, and watch it try to chomp on the cars as it cascades down while they speed around it. 

Who invents this stuff? 

I am impressed with their ingenuity and wish they would work on world peace next. 

However, the garage did not assemble itself. This is what the parts looked like out of the box: 

After an hour of figuring out the directions, peeling and applying decals, and positioning and snapping into place various sections, what looked like an explosion of random plastic parts became a complete and functioning whole. 

I cannot imagine that anyone will see the garage and think it just “happened.” How plausible is it that the parts randomly created and assembled themselves? 

Of course, the obvious spiritual implication is that if a toy garage is the product of design in creation and construction, how much more should we see the world in the same way? Isn’t our universe infinitely more complex than this toy garage? 

English clergyman and philosopher William Paley (1743–1805) made famous the “watchmaker” analogy. You’re walking down the road and happen upon a rock. This is unsurprising, given that rocks “happen” all the time in nature. 

A little further down the road, you happen upon a watch lying on the ground. Do you conclude that the watch “happened” as well? That its gears, hands, face, numbers, strap, buckle, and other parts just “fell together” into the watch? Or if you see a watch, don’t you assume the existence of a watchmaker? 

Again, isn’t the world infinitely more complex than a watch? 

If you are looking for reasons for gratitude this Thanksgiving week, look no further than the hands by which you are handling the device on which you are reading these words. According to this Johns Hopkins article, each of them is composed of fourteen phalanges, five metacarpal bones, and eight carpal bones, along with “numerous muscles, ligaments, tendons, and sheaths.” 

The article explains: “The muscles are the structures that can contract, allowing movement of the bones in the hand. The ligaments are fibrous tissues that help bind together the joints in the hand. The sheaths are tubular structures that surround part of the fingers. The tendons connect muscles in the arm or hand to the bone to allow movement. 

“In addition, there are arteries, veins, and nerves within the hand that provide blood flow and sensation to the hand and fingers.” 

David was right to pray: “You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13). 

When we stop to recognize the remarkable design of every dimension of our world, our hearts are drawn to the Designer with thanksgiving and praise. So I invite you to take a moment today to consider one dimension of nature, one tiny part in his universe. Focus on its intricate detail. Consider the One who created it and remember that he is your Maker as well. Give him thanks for such grace and ask his Spirit to build in you an attitude of gratitude as a lifestyle of worship. 

If you do this each day, you will “enter his gates with thanksgiving” (Psalm 100:4) and experience his transforming presence. 

And every day will be Thanksgiving. 

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