It amazes me and gives me joy the lessons I learn from the kids as I work as an elementary school custodian. Earlier this week I was walking down the hall with two bottles of hand cleaner. A fourth grader asked me what the difference of the two. I explained one is a hand soap and the other is a hand sanitizer and again Ariel asked me again the difference. I had to think a bit and explained they both basically do the same thing, but the soap needs to be washed off with water and the sanitizer does not. Being quite inquisitive, she persisted and asked if the sanitizer is washed off does it still work?

At this point I am thinking “I’m not a chemist, how would I know!” But I just told her I think it would be, but it is supposed to be convenient when you need to clean your hands and don’t have access to water. Only through the logic of a child she said, “Well it doesn’t make sense to me; if it’s good without water it should be even better with water.”

As is often the case when I have deep conversations with these students, she gave me a hug and went on her carefree way! But our conversation stayed with me throughout the night. I contemplated how often do we complicate things? Do we really need two when one is the answer? Sometimes we seek alternatives and sometimes they are good and sometimes they are bad.

This conversation reminded me of when I submitted myself to Jesus Christ to be my personal Lord and Savior; He did not clean me, or sanitize me, He purified me! I kept trying to figure out how or why. 1 John 3:3 tells us “Everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” What is this “hope” John writes about? When we turn to God, we are His children and we become like Him.

Maybe you don’t, but I struggle being like Him—I strive to be, but I often fail. When I try to figure out how to do “better” for God I usually fail because I’m thinking about cleaning, sanitation, and am missing purification. The bath or shower or hand dispensers will clean and sanitize us; we need to focus and draw closer to what purifies us. I trust the grace and forgiveness of the Cross to purify me.

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