Daddy had purchased the extra fifty acres of land across the road from our home. Though he gradually cleared the property and dug a pond for the cattle, he left a beautiful area with tall pines. For a young child, the pine forest became a playground. That strong pine smell tickled my nose while the sandy soil and pine needles massaged my bare feet. My imagination took me to forgotten trails and hidden mysteries. The place became my sanctuary—a place where I sensed God’s presence and poured out the desires of my young heart.
Since moving from South Georgia, I don’t often get to experience this fresh delightful scent of fresh pine. When we visit our daughter Sherry in New Jersey, we travel through the Pine Barrens. Though unlike the tall majestic trees of my childhood, the scrubby pines still carry a similar fragrance. Even at Christmas, the memories return when I walk into a home with a fresh tree or evergreen garland.
Northern Virginia is known more for its hard wood trees and apple orchards scattered over rolling hills. I have come to enjoy the spicy fragrance of cooked apples laced with sugar and cinnamon. Also, the sweet smell of cherry and pear blossoms permeating our neighborhood in the spring.
Not all smells are pleasant–like our outhouse in my early childhood, a strong musky perfume worn by the woman sitting ahead of me in church, or even my own body odor after a strenuous workout. In my new book, “Jonah’s War” (coming in August 2021), Katy is disgusted at the smell coming from the undercover police officer arresting her. She doesn’t care that he has been sitting in the hot sun, waiting for her to return to what he thinks is her crack house. Regardless of where the smell comes from, like Katy, we turn up our noses and gasp for fresh air.
In contrast, there is a fragrance associated with the presence of God. Though a mystery, the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 2:14 that we carry the fragrance of Christ with us if we have received the sweet smelling anointing oil of His salvation. Even our prayers give off a sweet smelling fragrance. “May my prayer come to You like the sweet smell of incense. When I lift up my hands in prayer, may it be like the evening sacrifice.” (Psalm 141:2 NIRV)
As the years behind me increase and the years ahead grow slim, Christ’s fragrance has become my favorite of all smells. It is the fragrance of angels, of heaven, of being a part of His Kingdom on earth. Reminding me that I am loved and accepted. What are some of your favorite smells?