The Sweet Smell of Hope

Today I received a phone call from my dear friend, Wendy, who lives in another state. She said, “I have a question for you.” 
She then proceeded to tell me about a family (a single mom with six children) who had been displaced over the weekend by a fire in their apartment in a low-income complex. While she was laying the foundation for her question, I was thinking, “What can I possibly offer in the way of help for someone who lives eight hours away from me?”
Then she got to it. Knowing that replacing clothing and bedding for six children would be expensive, and having learned that except for one of the rooms, the majority of the damage was from smoke and water, she had decided to take the salvageable items and launder them. She wanted to know what I recommended to remove the smell of smoke from the clothes and bed linens.”Ah,” I thought. “Now that I can help with.”
Two years ago this past week, my husband and I lost our own home in a fire, and one of the biggest blessings to us was when someone (Sharon) offered to take all of our clothes and linens and wash them to remove the smell of smoke. This was no small task, as each load had to be washed multiple times with a special laundry detergent. What was returned to us was some of the sweetest smelling clean laundry I had ever seen. It never would have occurred to me to even ask someone to do this, but she and her family had been through a tornado a few years prior and understood how big a blessing this would be to us. And it was. 
I contacted Sharon to see what method she had finally landed on that got the laundry smelling all fresh and clean, then passed along the information to Wendy. One of the things Wendy said to me was, “I have a new found understanding of what you and David went through when you had your fire after visiting that apartment. What a mess!” 
Yes, life can be quite messy. And sometimes we go through things that seem overwhelming. But beauty can and does come from the ashes and life on the other side of the heartache can be quite sweet. Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego entered into the fiery furnace in a devlish plan that was designed to destroy them. They came out unsinged, with not even the smell of smoke on them. It was in the intense heat of the fire that they experienced a personal encounter with the Son of God Himself. The fire purifies and prepares us for a greater work. We are equipped with the first-hand knowledge that what doesn’t kill us really does make us stronger, and we are able to reach out with a much deeper compassion to those around us who are hurting. 
Every act of service to others is a significant – even if all we can offer is to help them get the smoke smell out.We all need a little sweet-smelling hope from time to time. Freely you have received. Freely give.
Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.