“Again, Lord?  Why me?”

That’s what I was thinking last night at children’s Bible study, when a young boy had a fountain o’ belly matter shooting forth from his largest facial orifice.

You see, at the beginning of the semester I had signed up to volunteer whenever the children’s classes needed someone to help.  And last night was my first night as a helper in the 4-to-6-year-old class.  But had I really signed up for this?

Actually, it was quite comical as mass chaos took over.  The little girls starting screaming and crying hysterically (as only we females can do), and the chain reaction that often occurs in times like these surely happened:  one of the girls also lost her cookies.

The only other little boy in the classroom just stared at all of the drama unfolding.  He probably didn’t know what to do or think, so he just stood there helplessly. 

At this point, “The V Team” took over.  I took the boy with the upset stomach and starting wiping him down, the teacher took the girl who had just spewed and cleaned her off, while the children’s director swooped in and took the rest of the children to another classroom in the church, so they could continue learning about Joseph, his brothers and forgiveness … and then have their snack.  Yum! 

Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve used my “gift” of “Regurgitation Elimination.”  A memorable experience happened a couple of years ago when cleaning up after a young child I was babysitting.  Twice.  No, make that three times before it was all over.  We’re talking a strip-off-the-pajamas-change-the-sheets-on-the-bed-shake-off-the-particles-and-throw-everything-into-the-washer-and-go-back-and-scrub-the-carpet type of evening.  After that, I propped him up on the sofa with a plastic bucket at the ready, while we waited for his parents to come home.

Many years before that episode, while working as a summer counselor at a church’s day camp outside of the city, one of my little campers had an upset tummy on the bus ride back to the church after a long day in the hot sun.  Thankfully, I had a Styrofoam cup (I have no idea where it came from), and I got it to him just in time to catch whatever projectile might be coming out. 

As I carefully held the cup all the way back to the church in a jerky, moving vehicle that was navigating the highways and by-ways of evening rush-hour traffic, I prayed “Please, Lord, pleeeeeease don’t let my cup runneth over.”

After last night’s opportunity to use my gift, the children’s director thanked me over and over for stepping in and helping out in a not-so-great situation.  I told her that if this young boy were my child, that I would have wanted someone to step in and take care of him, too … mess and all. 

Sure, it wasn’t pretty.  I had to breathe out of my mouth and keep going in a mind-over-matter type of way.  But I wanted to take care of this young child who was not feeling well and was frightened.  It was the right thing to do.

Thankfully, regurgitation doesn’t affect me like other types of human waste does … so I was really the right person to be there last night to help with this ordeal.  Call it a “divine appointment” or call it providential, but I believe I was supposed to be there.

As I was cleaning up (I ended up in the church’s janitorial closet with a hose, some rubber gloves and a bottle of industrial-strength ammonia ... washing off some foam floor tiles that were caught in the crossfire), I thought about how our heavenly Father cleans up after us … after me.  I mean, how could I not make this correlation at a time like that?

When I am surely not emitting an “aroma of Christ” (see 2 Corinthians 2:15) in my witness to those around me and am stinking up my life, the Lord still is there to take care of me and clean up after the mess I make. 

It’s not pretty.  And it’s always an unpleasant and smelly job.  But the Lord always (thankfully!) steps in and does it without fail.  He is the one who can make our testimonies sweet smelling.  Amen? 

What else can this be but real love. … 

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

— 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13