I just knew something was wrong.
I’d been smelling it for several days. It was an odor that at times was potent enough to distract my attention. It had an odd aroma—it seemed like it might be smoke from the fireplace, but we hadn’t had a fire yet this season. There was an almost “industrial” quality to it, and it was a smell that I somehow recognized, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was, or where it was coming from.
Finally, I’d had enough. I was going to find the source of that stinking smell if it took me all day. It must have been quite a sight. There I was, a grown man, on my hands and knees, crawling around on the floor on all fours, sniffing around like a dog (I wondered if I’d have the urge to howl once I found it). I carefully approached the top of my desk, picking up stray books, file folders, and magazines, sniffing each one, trying to find the offending scent.
I put my nose down on the surface of the desk, and I got a quick whiff of it… I knew I was on the right track. But, it wasn’t the desk itself… it had to be something on it. Frightened of the implications of having to clean up my messy desk, I started slowly disassembling the “vertical piling system” when I picked up a couple of magazines and a mailing box… and there it was… the source of all this snorfing consternation.
No, it wasn’t something organic and disgusting that was brought as a love gift by one of the cats. It was actually something much simpler than that. It was a black rubber mallet, almost new, used only once, and finally I remembered that smell. It was the same as an industrial rubber processing plant that I used to drive past every day. What a stench! The mallet was relocated to the garage, and in short order the office air was notably fresher, and I was able to do my work without further distraction.
Have you ever just had that “feeling” that something just isn’t right? Something inside of you says “no, don’t go there… go over here instead”. Sometimes we obey that inner voice, and sometimes we don’t. In my experience, that still, small voice from within is usually right, and well worth listening to.
Some would call it “intuition,” but I know that it’s not really my inner voice, but the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit, speaking to me from within, saying “this is the way… walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21). We don’t always follow that inner voice, often because we’re making so much noise of our own that we can’t hear that still, small voice speaking. Sometimes we don’t listen, substituting instead our own desires and direction. But, the promise is for us—if we will listen, that voice will direct us. We’ll be able to “smell” problems before they smack us in the face. We’ll be able to discern God’s direction and will, and know that we’re going in the right direction, confident in God’s ability to carry us through.
Just as I didn’t find that offending aroma without sniffing it out, so we’ll never be able to hear the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit until we quiet ourselves and seek Him.
But, once you’ve “sniffed out” God’s direction, and made whatever changes that He may require of you, you’ll find that the air is a lot fresher and the journey is easier —and much more pleasant!