Our skin is a pretty remarkable organ. I just read that we have 19 yards of blood vessels, 95 oil glands, 650 sweat glands, and over 19,000 sensory cells in ONE INCH OF SKIN! Wow. Did you know that the average adult’s skin covers an area of 22 square feet? Now that is a serious amount of vessels, glands, and cells! And did you know that our skin renews itself every 28 days? Our skin is like a really cool suit of armor that’s tailor-made just for us. It keeps all our insides in and an army of harmful stuff out, and when it’s damaged it heals.
So a few weeks ago when Steve nicked his finger on a fish tooth (does it count that it was the tooth of a really big, beautiful, and tasty silver salmon? 🙂 ) he didn’t think much about it. 48 hours later his finger looked like a polish dog from Costco, a fever had taken up residency in his body, bright red streaks were lighting up his arm like fireworks on the fourth of July, and he was in excruciating pain (not a good combination when one lives in remote Alaska!). Steve needed to get to a hospital immediately but the howling wind had grounded all the planes, and the swirling seas would have turned any skiff into a coffin.
Nearing a state of panic I called the experienced village health aide who took one look at Steve’s swollen digit and diagnosed him with “Fish Handler’s Disease” (you’d think an avid fisherman would know about such diseases!). She kicked into high gear, calling ER doctors from Homer to Anchorage, looking for approval to dispense a much needed antibiotic. Two hours and more than a few ibuprofen later, our angel in scrubs handed Steve the miracle in a bottle. I’ve never been so happy to see an antibiotic in my whole life! It got us through the night (and bad weather), and the next morning Steve was on a flight to Homer for a trip to the ER.
Fast forward sixteen days, two rounds of antibiotics, and $5,000 later (I’ll spare you all the gory details of a giant blister, oozing puss, and blackened skin), and Steve’s finger is still attached to his hand and looking…well, almost normal. Thank you, Jesus.
In this adventure with Steve’s giant sausage finger, I learned that without the proper care, the tiniest little nick on our skin makes us vulnerable to extremely painful, ridiculously expensive, and even deadly infections. Funny how the same lesson holds true in our spiritual lives as well. If sin nicks our spiritual armor, it sends infection into our system. Left unattended, it will be exceedingly painful, horribly expensive, and eventually it will be deadly. Don’t let the trials of this world penetrate your spiritual armor. Read God’s word daily, know what it says, and follow it without compromise. There’s no better antibiotic for the infection of sin than that.
P.S. – A special thanks for all the prayers (and help) during this incident–I believe they kept Steve’s infection at bay, and I know they kept me from being admitted to the loony bin 🙂