Thursday, October 06, 2011

What Will Heaven Smell Like?

Maybe I've just got a hypersensitive sense of smell, but there are few things that delight me like the fragrances of nature.

The weather has cooled down enough to finally drive with the window down, and I absolutely love the aromas the night air brings. Even here in a metropolitan area, there are scents and fragrances in the air that still tickle my senses, that delight me, that, yes, make me long for a cooler climate where I could spend much more time outdoors, surrounded by nature.

Driving home from work at 1:30 this morning, I caught faint whiffs of the night air: damp earth where someone had been using a sprinkler system, the scent of a vacant lot that was overgrown with tall grasses and weeds, trees here and there that were sharing their perfumes with the night breeze… A couple years ago, my family and I were blessed with a short vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyoming; during our visit there, the church family that we were visiting took us on an all-day four-wheeling trip through parts of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, along Grey's River, through mountain ranges that were spectacular to look at, and at one time, I told my friend, Pastor Wayne Neal, that I felt like I was going into "sensory overload". There were so many sights to see, so many smells, so many sounds of the outdoors, that I literally felt like it was almost too much to take in at one time.

With all these aromas tickling my senses, and the memory of that all-too-brief trip on a four-wheeler up through the mountains of Wyoming, it just made me wonder, "What will Heaven smell like?"

We know there will be trees, and a river… What else will Heaven hold for us? (Those who love the beach may be out of luck, as John's revelation showed him "there was no more sea".) Will God allow me that "mountain view" that I've always wanted? Will there be towering pines, sagebrush and cedar, jasmine, or honeysuckle to fill the air with their perfumes? Fresh-cut grass, roses, eucalyptus plants, or freshly-tilled soil to delight our sense of smell?

In His creation of man, God gave us five different senses. I've heard countless songs, stories, testimonies, and dreams about what Heaven is going to look like; I've heard sermons and songs about what Heaven will sound like. We've talked about drinking from the river of life, or eating the fruit of the trees of life that are planted beside that river. But I've never heard anyone mention what Heaven will smell like.

Curiously, however, as I was writing this, it dawned on me that even God has a sense of smell, and enjoys certain aromas. The very thing that turned the heart of God, and caused Him to repent of ever cursing the earth was a burnt offering that Noah offered after the flood had abated, and the ark had come to rest. ("And the LORD smelled a sweet savour…" Gen. 8:20-21) Incense was to be burned in the tabernacle of the LORD, to represent the prayers of God's people. An alabaster box was broken in the presence of Jesus, and the fragrance of its contents filled the whole house.

So it becomes apparent that, yes, even God Himself has a sense of smell. I'm just wondering what Heaven will smell like? I can hardly wait to find out...

1 comment:

Robert Ziriak said...

Well, this certainly has me wondering what heaven will smell like. Steve, you have always had an eloquent way of putting in writing what was on your heart. Do I hear a song about the fragrance of home?