I will admit it. I have an issue.

It’s not something that can be cured…I don’t think. It’s not something that can be subdued…I don’t think.

I am somewhat confident I remember the moment it overtook me…I think. I’m a germ/ clean/organizational/perfectionist. I am not ashamed. If you have ever been to my house you know the longstanding rule- shoes off immediately at the door, shoes back on only upon immediately exiting. I keep the antibacterial wipe companies in business and one unorganized closet might as well be a house full of cluttered dirt.

Almost 11 years ago my husband and I took a trip to Cancun, Mexico. Beautiful vacation, wonderful hotel facilities, and impressive scenery. That is, until Hurricane Wilma decided to disrupt our departure in a grand fashion.

We thought we were fortunate. That sunny Thursday morning was to be our final morning in Cancun. We watched as the locals boarded up buildings and hundreds of tourists were forced to wait to be taken to shelters. The nightmare shelter stories from Hurricane Katrina were still fresh on everyone’s minds. We had actually met several people that week who had experienced Katrina firsthand. So as we began to leave the hotel to head to the airport we were grateful we would be departing  just in time. However, our concierge frantically informed us that the airport had just been closed and that we would indeed be joining the rest of the tourists for an adventure of a lifetime.

If you happen to remember this particular hurricane, it happened 2 months after Katrina. This Category 5 made history as the most intense hurricane on record until last year. Overshadowed by its landfall on Florida, our fellow Americans in the states, at the time, had no idea what was happening to their fellow American tourists in Mexico. They were preparing for their own experience. Wilma decided to hit land 3 separate times before she departed Mexico 36 hours later.

I must tell you, there is nothing quite like feeling and hearing the suction of such deep and daunting winds. There is also nothing quite like walking around the outside of the shelter surveying damage…only to realize a few hours later, you had been walking around in the eye of the storm. Round three.

The locals had done an amazing job doing their best to keep tourists safe. We went from one shelter to another three separate times…from a movie theater which eventually collapsed, to a parking garage, which was quite interesting, to a bull rink. Local and surrounding military were present on the streets to ensure peace and protection after the storm. To help tourists and their city, local workers, who could have been tending to their own homes and families, diligently labored.

My antibacterial wipe obsession became evident to me once returning to the states after a week of being stranded in Mexico post storm. I had become well aware of what happens when a thousand people share one bathroom at a movie theater after running water and electricity no longer work. I had become well aware of what no bathroom facilities looks like for another 24 hours with a thousand people on one level of a parking a garage. Another week in a damaged hotel with no running water or electricity also made it clear that, well, I would now become one of those people you only read about. A germ freak.

Furthermore, over a decade later, antibacterial wipes go with us on every vacation…just in case.

When I read Leviticus, beginning in chapter 11, I pretty much identify. Although Leviticus never mentions antibacterial wipes, had they been invented at the time, I am quite sure they would have come with instructions. God lays out his instructions for clean and unclean, proper and improper, pure and impure and holy and unholy. From directions on dealing with mildew to proper relations with people, God had high expectations for the people He called out to be separate and holy.

Although many of these exact instructions are no longer binding on believers since Christ fulfilled their purpose, the principles behind them are extremely valid. They are necessary for those He still calls out to be separate and holy. We must distinguish ourselves from society by dressing, eating, drinking, relating to others, etc., so as to honor God.

From the mud of sin that seeps into the crevices of our shoes to the settling dust from even the hint of sin, we are an unclean people. We are only made pure through the gracious and precious blood of Christ.

We don’t have to understand all the whys of God’s standards and expectations… Let’s stop complaining and obey anyway! There is a reason God made Moses take off his sandals. And I doubt it was to protect his carpets.

“I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy…” -Leviticus 11:44



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