The Fragrance of Heaven
I was sitting on our porch reading, relishing a gorgeous spring evening. As always, I became engrossed with the words, fixating my mind on the material.
Suddenly, in the midst of my focus, a faint fragrance got my attention. Then it grew stronger. Something was being grilled a few houses away, and the scent had made its way to me.
Burgers. Yum. Now I’m hungry.
It’s amazing what a fragrance can do. I was doing just fine reading my book, and then the smell of burgers, carried by the wind, found its way to our porch.
Carried by the wind.
What I love most about the created order is how intricately God’s story is woven into every detail of it. He fashioned our universe, and all of it – from the tiniest particles to the vastest galaxies – holds truth about His kingdom.
Both the Hebrew [רוח] and Greek [πνεύμα] words for Spirit/spirit link the term with breath and wind.
There’s something to this… There’s something to discover about the Spirit by observing the wind.
Wind itself is invisible. But its effects can be seen and felt. We don’t debate the wind’s presence when our hair is blowing furiously. We can’t see it, but we know it’s there. We feel it, and we see its results.
Wind is also unpredictable… It can’t be controlled. Try to stop the wind. It can’t be done. We may as well try to stop the waves of the sea.
There are gentle winds and fierce winds. The ones that are barely noticeable and the ones that nearly knock us off of our feet.
Wind is also a carrier of realities we can’t see. This might be its most profound attribute.
Back to the burgers. Sitting on my porch several hundred yards away from the grill, I couldn’t see them. What I saw was a book, porch furniture, and our back yard. Yet I knew with certainty that burgers were nearby because the wind carried their fragrance to me. Suddenly, I was aware of a reality I couldn’t see with my eyes, all because of the wind.
This is exactly how the Spirit invades our lives. He blows into our midst, making invisible realities known to us. This is how the human heart comes into fellowship with Jesus.
Heaven’s fragrance makes its way to us, and the Gospel – the glorious Kingdom story – is unveiled. Suddenly, what we see with our natural eyes holds much less weight than the realities the Wind has whispered to us.
Heaven blows into our midst, assuring us of Kingdom realities. We grab hold of Him, and become His.
But it gets better. Wilder.
When we’re His, He lives inside of us. We are carriers of His Spirit. The wind of Heaven can now blow through our lives, emitting His exquisite fragrance wherever we go.
“…thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ
and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.”
II Corinthians 2:14
The beauty and power packed into these words – it’s almost too much. We are carriers of His Spirit – He uses us, His children, to spread Heaven’s fragrance and make Himself known.
Here’s the thing though. Fragrance is spread through wind – that untamable thing we can’t control. So if we distance ourselves from its blowing after we become His, we’ll end up settling for a life of stagnation. A life we think we can control – a life that’s safe from winds that might grow too fierce and sweep us off of our feet.
I’m afraid this is the life most of us have been taught to embrace. Yes, He blew into our lives way back when. And yes, we became His. But then we shied away from the wind because religion convinced us to go for a life we could manage. A life that “makes sense.” A life that is culturally acceptable. A life that’s logical. A life void of risk and passion.
We’re waiting on “one day” in Heaven… when Heaven lives inside of us.
Beloved, the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead lives inside of us.
Yes, these words hold a “one day” promise. But they speak of an equally true here-and-now reality.
The Spirit… the Breath… the Wind of Heaven… Beloved, we carry these things. And we’re invited to be immersed in them. Baptized. Consumed.
And when we are, we’ll carry His aroma. Our lives will speak of a much greater reality than can be discerned with the natural senses. We won’t have control, nor will we have all the answers. We’ll have something much better:
His wind in our sails,
His breeze on our face,
and the holy adventure for which we were born.
Do it, Father! We ask you. Blow into our lives again with Heaven’s realities. Sweep us off of our feet. Infuse us with your fragrance, and blow upon us all the more so your fragrance – the Fragrance of Heaven- will spread in the earth.
In order of appearance, photos by Bill Lapp, Giusi Barbiani, & Camilla Soares