I have fair skin. In my teens and twenties, I tried in vain to tan. As my fair-skinned (and funny) husband is fond of saying, “I have two colors: White and Red.”
I decided I’d rather be red than white. So I’d foolishly smear baby oil on my translucent skin and proceed to roast like a rotisserie chicken beside our backyard pool. A few times I even held one of those foil reflector shields under my upturned face, as if the almighty Arizona sun needed magnifying. I cringe now at the thought.
Pass the aloe vera.
Fast forward a few decades and there is now a price to be paid for my youthful tanning indiscretions: wrinkles, sun damage, and skin cancer. I’m a frequent flyer at my dermatologist’s office. When I walk through that door it feels more like I’m entering a war zone than a waiting room, with all those aging faces sporting bandages.
We reap what we sow. Even if it takes years to appear.
While we are free to choose, we are not free from the consequences of our choices. This is a time-tested principle, a spiritual “law” if you will, straight out of the Bible:
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. (Galatians 6:7, ESV)
Sow sun, reap skin damage.
Today I returned to the dreaded “war zone.” Only this visit was for a treatment called “Photodynamic Therapy,” or PDT. Levulanic acid is carefully applied to the face and allowed to soak into the skin for one hour. It is then activated by a special blue light, which causes the chemicals to attack and kill any pre-cancerous cells.
But wait, it gets even better. This incredible treatment not only prevents skin cancer from developing, it also reverses past sun damage! I find this absolutely amazing.
It’s what I’d call a true “Blue Light Special.”
It’s also an illuminating illustration of our God.
…he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. (Psalm 103:10, NIV)
God is not mocked. But He is also merciful.
He enters those war-torn places in our lives and soothes them with His gentle, but penetrating light. Neutralizing the cancerous spread of sin. Repairing, even reversing the damage inflicted upon us by others and, yes, even ourselves. Restoring us to spiritual health and emotional wholeness.
No, we don’t deserve it.
We can merely receive it, with an upturned face and a heart bowed down.
Come. Shine on me, Lord.
But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays… (Micah 4:2a, NIV)
Wonderful, merciful Savior.
Beautiful, healing Light.