Then I moved to South America and lived in the Caribbean for over 20 years. We were all ignorant about sunscreen back in those days. A tan was considered healthy. I never managed a tan, just white, red, white, and then the same all over again with more freckles added in..
All this time I was exposing myself to future harm. I was killing healthy skin cells that could never be replaced or repaired. I was ignorant to this, but it was happening. Deep down inside at the cellular level a seed of evil was being planted that would one day bring forth pain and destruction.
A few years back the party ended and the damage began to reveal itself outwardly. After several bouts with pre-cancerous lesions, I developed a persistent cancerous one (carcinoma) on my nose. Four times I suffered the pain of having it removed and each time it returned.
After having it cut off four times, it became necessary to have more tissue surgically removed and studied in a more aggressive manner. The surgeon cut, scraped, and burned an area the size of a quarter. I ended up having to have a bit of plastic surgery in order to hide the fact that my eye was being stretched down by the scar. If I had waited any longer, the cancer would have made it to my tear duct and it would have been much worse. And now after several surgeries, I still must apply an acid type cream to the area every other night to keep the cancerous cells at bay.
Every day I deal with the damage the sun did to my skin. Every few months I have to have lesions burned away, frozen, or scraped off. Mostly they return with in a few months. Sometimes I have to have them cut off leaving more scars. I am ever so repentant of the ways of my youth, but I still bear the consequences of those deeds and will do so until I die.
While contemplating how the sun has slowly,even silently, been damaging my skin all these years, it reminded me of the effects of sin in our lives.
Galatians 6:7-8 (King James Version)
7Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
We slowly are absorbing all the 'junk' of this world and often think."Hey,I'm OK.It's not effecting me." and then one day we wake up and find our life in a mess.Or our testimony ruined. Or discover that we have harmful habits that are not easily overcome. Then we have to submit ourselves to a thorough inspection and it often involves pain and may even leave scares.
Even when we manage to fix the problem, sometimes it is only a temporary fix, and returns again and again. Sometimes these damages alter our lifestyle. We can't fix it back to the way it was, we just have to change our expectations and live with it.
It seems that just as the sun damage is accumulative and requires vigilance even after we give up the bad habits of exposure and even if we are using SPF 100(YEP,that's what I use) without warning, a new lesion appears, seemingly over night. It is a constant battle.
Sin is the same way. Once we give in, the effects remain and the temptations are harder to fend off. Scars are visible and our life can be altered in ways we can never fully change. We must daily fight against temptations to fall back into sinful habits. Our sins are forgiven and forgotten by our Lord, but the scars will be visible.
Proverbs 28:13 (King James Version)
13He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
I thank God for His mercy, for in it we can trust completely!