Fragrance in the River
I was driving home from a retreat, in my twenties and a new believer. It was all so new.
The presence of God, fresh and immense, had shown up in that forested refuge, a sparse log-framed conference center. His love for me remained a big mystery, though. After all, I didn’t have much to offer.
It wasn’t like I could offer a beautiful brain. I couldn’t read a map and got lost from home to the grocery store. Okay, not that bad. But still, finding a new destination was hair-raising without any sense of north, south, east or west. I got lost a lot. Changing a tire, doing math – not so much. I just liked to read.
I couldn’t offer much in the way of holy living. After all, I didn’t know Holiness Himself yet. Didn’t know He would help me in that process.
So I was just praying that afternoon in my blue Plymouth Satellite, heading back home and thanking Him for all the goodness He’d poured out on me, an ordinary little lady.
When love appeared in that car, He came like warm honey that began at my head and filtered into my mind with a sweetness too big to contain. Love drenched my pores and saturated my understanding. It disarmed my defenses. It overtook my fears. It changed me for all time.
I married a great man and we had four children, all better than I planned or deserved. Life kept me busy, doing pretty much whatever was needed. Call of God? Well, sure. Exciting, life changing? I hoped so. Most of the time I was too busy working to wonder. Until the times giving got hard. The seasons I was depleted and wondered if any of it mattered.
Then one Saturday morning, I read about an anointing at a city called Bethany in the book of Matthew. This anointing wasn’t one applied to heal blind eyes, or to straighten crooked limbs. It wasn’t an anointing to send a tormenting demon packing or to bless a child. This anointing was for the Anointed One.
A human being anointed God by her love. Her anointing, a simple gift, prepared God for the offering of Himself.
An ordinary woman, responding to extravagant love, prepared God for His highest mission. Her offering, unsolicited and unrequired, was a spontaneous outpouring of her love responding to His love. And it mattered.
I didn’t know my life was costly or that my gifts were precious. Most of all, I couldn’t have imagined that the offering of me would propel His mission and fill His heart with the sweetness He’d so often poured out on me.
How was it possible? I still don’t understand.
But that doesn’t make it any less true. Our lives are fragrant, costly, precious offerings to Him. Imperfect, yes, but treasured by perfect Love Himself.
It is a wonder, a mystery that escapes our mental grasp. But we don’t have to understand to take hold of it or to live by the fragrance of its beauty. When we get tired or can’t quite remember why it matters, it does. When we’re just too busy to notice, it matters.
In fact, it makes all the difference. For Him and for us.