I am at a very interesting point in my life. I have learned so much about myself this year: dreams, goals, passions, all the way down to incredible new pieces of faith that I never knew were possible.
I have learned what it means to truly live in Christian community.
I have learned that I have to go to God when I don’t know where to go.
I have learned that my imagination of what God has planned for my life is so dramatically different than what he actually has planned.
I have learned to find God in the strangest of places, face of friends, smiles of strangers, bonds with brothers.
But through this all, something smells.
It is hard to explain. I am so filled with love, and I do my best to enact that love, but there is always something on my heart that stops me from loving those around me to the best of my ability.
I am afraid. I am worried. I am uncomfortable. I am unworthy. I am not good enough.
See there are so many moments in which I can smell myself. There are some things in my life that I struggle with on the daily. I am far too prideful. I don’t believe in myself. I am quick to blame others. I struggle with lust. I find anything and everything to distract myself. I sometimes don’t believe that I can change the lives of those around me.
Sometimes, the smell becomes too much and I just give up and wait for the next day.
And on those days, I cry out, asking why Jesus just doesn’t show up and take it all away.
And I convince myself that it is because I smell.
I am not the only one who thinks this. I think it is far too easy to buy into this lie. I mean, it even happens in the Bible.
In John 11, Jesus finds out that one of his close personal friends, Lazarus, is dying. He lingers in a different town for two days, and by the time he arrives at Lazarus’s house, Lazarus has died. This leads to the easiest bible verse to memorize, John 11:35: Jesus wept. And through his tears, he asks Mary and Martha (Lazarus’s sisters) to open up his tomb.
Martha, who knows how powerful Jesus is, who has seen the incredible works that he has done, who just 9 verses earlier said, “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God,” says something that I am all too familiar with.
Martha said, “But Lord, he has been there for 4 days. The smell will be terrible.”
Despite knowing Jesus’s power, his connection to God, and the fact the is the Messiah, Martha is worried about the smell.
Jesus just goes ahead, and asks Lazarus to walk out of the grave. No worries about the smell.
Look, I am sure it smelled. Bodies usually smell after sitting in cave for 4 days. But yet, Jesus enters in undaunted, and works a miracle to raise Lazarus from the dead.
And he can do the same for me. He can do the same for you.
I know how easy it is to buy into the lie that you are unworthy of God’s love. I know that it feels like your sin can shove a wedge between you and God. I know the feeling that you are unreachable because you smell.
I also know that Jesus doesn’t care.
“But it smells!” we say.
“Come out anyways!” He says.