It is ironic, sad, and hopefully funny when one discovers that the annoying smell that seems to overwhelm the environment is actually coming from one’s body. In general you and I don’t stink, right? I don’t know about you but even after a day fishing, working out in the garden and the fertilizer, or a long session of squash, I never find myself smelling of hard work – at least I cannot sense it!
I can remember when I hit puberty and for the first time body odor was a fact of life. I didn’t know it. I was blissfully going through life wearing shirts for days at a time and making everyone around me miserable! At some point, I think it was after a long drive in the car my dad took me aside and broke the news. I was stunned! It must have been someone else. I was sure that he was mistaken. I tried to present my case and then the question came that I couldn’t ignore.
“Have you smelled one of your shirts recently?”
Wisdom’s words were his that day. “Don’t imagine yourself to be quite presentable when you haven’t had a bath in weeks.” (Proverbs 30.12)
The experience of riding crowded trains in England during the evening, India at almost any time, and China during rush hour brings the same question up front and center. I still haven’t been able to form it in my mind without checking my person first.
I wonder if I really understand the breath and depth of the question when God asks me. Do I realize how bad I really am at the core? Do I understand just how foul I am in the presence of God’s awesome beauty? Do I fathom the magnitude of the stink?
This isn’t all bad news. God knows me inside and out, smelling bad and then worse, and states unequivocally that I am loved unconditionally! Now, if I can only admit the truth then I will have the opportunity to let God’s smell be mine. This doesn’t have to be difficult.