Did ya ever have a moment of curious inspiration and wonder—wonder that asks if it was your imagination, or if there’s a logical explanation for what happened? Well, just yesterday morning I had one of those. I was out on my patio spending some time in prayer, when it happened. A sweet fragrance suddenly wafted by. Funny, it wasn’t there when I first came out. I sat relishing the intoxicating perfumed air, inhaling as much as I could of the aroma similar to gardenias or jasmine. But, curiously, I noted, there aren’t any fragrant flowers currently blooming in our back yard at all, nor many in the front. And I wasn’t aware of any like that in nearby properties.
So, how was it, I could smell that sweet fragrance? Could it be God was sending me a beautiful message of hope and courage? I’d been feeling weighed down lately after a barrage of troubles had continued to batter my husband and I for several months. It seemed that every time we’d get past one, another would come our way. My husband had suffered the most with everything including two different medical events that took him to the emergency hospital. By themselves, most of the trials weren’t earth shaking and our faith continued to get us through, but with wave after wave we barely had a chance to catch our breath between each one.
So, I wondered, does God ever make Himself known in that way? I don’t know. But shortly after my unique aromatic experience, a distant memory drifted in too. I remembered an amazing woman I’d met thirty or forty years ago, named Bilquis Sheikh. She had spoken at our church telling her miraculous story of an encounter with God and how it led her out of her Muslim beliefs and into Christianity. In one part of her book, “I Dared to Call Him Father,” I recalled Madame Bilquis telling of a moment when an inexplicable sweet fragrance surrounded her. That sign, along with others, led her to a great change of faith.
Ironically, the very fact that I remembered Madame Bilquis Sheikh’s name—and how to spell it, after all these years, was, in itself, a miracle for me—in my senior years I’m lucky to remember my own name sometimes. Yet, I do know that smell and memory are very attached to one another. Perhaps that’s why the story of Mary Magdalene washing the feet of Jesus with the Oil of Spikenard to prepare Him for burial, also came to mind. In John 12:1-7 the account mentions the fragrance and how it “filled the room.” But the account that stands out most for me is the one in Matthew 26:13 that says “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will be told as a memorial to her.” I.O.W. people would remember it, like, forever.
Whether or not it was a miraculous manifestation of my Lord, or He caused the fragrance to catch a breeze and drift my way, or it just happened to find its way to me from afar, it was just what I needed that morning. And as I sat soaking it all in, a poem came to me, so I’d like to share it as my Easter gift to all of you.
A SWEET FRAGRANCE
You come to me in sweet fragrance, carried on a breeze,
blowing softly from afar, you enter inside with ease.
Into the deep places within,
that store my pain and sin.
Infusing sweet perfume,
and a healing balm of love.
Like a candle in a room and a sweet fragrance from above.
Springtime flowers fresh in bloom,
carry your message
Resurrected from a tomb,
Bursting through the soil
That held them down,
They too, raise up
With new life found.