Cleaning up after sick children is hardly anyone’s favorite pastime. When my daughter was a baby, she used to spit up so much that I considered starting a line of women’s clothes made entirely of burp cloths. After I started getting enough sleep again, I packed up that idea with the rest of her soiled baby clothes and threw it all in the trash. By the time baby number three came along, I had grown accustomed to being a human barf bag. It’s a lot easier for me to clean up messes made by people I know and love.
My husband Dave is a naturally compassionate person, and I’m – oh, how can I put this mildly – not. I have to work hard at it like a weighed down pack mule ascending an icy vertical slope. But as I continue to slip and slide, the Lord provides the traction I need to keep from falling.
One day a mother and her young girl arrived for their first time at a Bible fellowship in our home. During the service, the mom kept rushing into the bathroom with her daughter. I finally pulled her aside and asked if she was okay. She explained that her little girl had been fighting a stomach bug all morning. Donning my “Ms. Compassion” sash, I instantly wondered how she could be so inconsiderate to bring her sick child and expose my three young kids to this illness. That was mistake number one. The next one came after the meal, when the little girl decided to watch her brunch come up in reverse all over our living room floor.
Dave’s instant reaction was to get right in the thick of things and help. Without hesitation he was in the middle of muck, compassionately helping this sick girl. My feet were frozen to the floor as I watched my husband cleaning up this disgusting mess and caring for these people he did not even know. It’s not that I didn’t want to help, but first I needed to search for my rubber gloves…and a ten foot pole.
The next day I searched the Scriptures for the record of Jesus healing the leper. I read about a man with a horrendous skin disease who came to our Lord and begged him to help if he was willing. After reading that section, try as I might, I couldn’t find that verse I was looking for: I’m willing, said Jesus, but first let me get my rubber gloves and a ten foot pole. Do you know what I saw instead?
Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!”
Then I frantically searched the next verse for any references to Jesus calling for some hand sanitizer, but to no avail. The only thing Jesus cared about was loving people. Then I realized that these same gloveless hands of Jesus that touched the leper soon after took the nails for me. So I guess it’s time to put away the gloves and the pole and continue my ascent up the steep and slippery path toward his glory.