Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7 (NIV)
This is the story of a little boy who loved to get dirty. It started when he was one, barely able to walk. His older brother and a friend dug a deep hole in the yard to play in. Little brother wanted to help and toddled right along behind them. Then, he got too close and fell head first into the hole which because they lived in Florida had water in the bottom. When his mother looked outside all she saw was the little boy’s feet sticking up out of the hole as his older brother and friend stood laughing at the little boy. Mother rushed right out and pulled him out of the hole yelling at the older brother because the little boy was face first in the mud. Instead of being scared, the little boy developed a fascination with holes, mud and dirt. He loved to play outside and was filthy most of the time. His hands were usually black with dirt. In fact, the only time when they really got clean was his family’s annual vacation to the river where he spent all his time in the water. Unfortunately for the little boy, his mother did not like him to get dirty. Well, mother did not mind so much when he got dirty, but she liked to keep her house clean and got mad when he tracked in sand or left his muddy clothes on the carpet of his room. So, his mother yelled at him and made him take his clothes off on the back porch before he could come in the house. Years later, when his mother thought back to those days, she did so with a heavy feeling of regret. How could she have been so mean? How could she have cared more about her clean house than her son’s happiness? Then, the little boy grew up and became a young man and fell in love with the people of Brazil and wanted to help them. So, the young man went to the little villages on the Amazon River. He took food and helped to clean out their houses, schools and churches from the mud that filled them when the river flooded. He wasn’t afraid to get dirty. Sometimes, he would stop and tell the children about Jesus. He would start off by recalling how when he was a little boy he loved to play in the dirt and his mother would not let him come in the house when he was dirty. He said that was how it was with God. God loved the children, but they could not come in His house until they were clean, but the good news was that God sent His Son to earth to make them clean if only they asked. When the young man’s mother heard about his story, she was so proud and so relieved that God had taken what she thought was a mistake and turned it into something really, really good.