Monday, March 14, 2011


I love the smell of sawdust.

One whiff and I feel like a young girl standing in the barn, holding the end of a board while my Daddy cuts it with a Skilsaw. I’m transported to a safe place to talk, to spill my troubles, to ask questions, to get answers.

With each deep breath, I can remember the unique smell of my Pa’s flannel shirts - a combination of sawdust, gasoline and sweat. I’m transported to Friday evenings sitting beside him watching Knight Rider. Or riding on the back of a tractor down to the mailbox, giggling all the way.

To me, sawdust smells like hard work and childhood.

To me, sawdust smells like love.

I was thinking about this recently as I walked through our new home which, at that moment, was covered in sawdust. A new home which is clearly a part of God’s plan for my life, and which, as usual, has not unfolded in the way I expected.

God’s ways are unsearchable. He plans beyond our grasp. And sometimes, He feels so far above us, so far beyond us, as to be unknowable.

But He wants us to know Him.

As I walked down the stairs, leaving footprints in the sawdust, breathing in the delicious aroma, He spoke.

“I love the smell of sawdust, too.”

I froze on the stairs.


God loves the smell of sawdust?

Really? And why would He take the time to tell me? What is He trying to reveal to me about who He is?

I’ve thought about it quite a bit over the past few weeks. Perhaps it reminds Him of long talks in a barn, holding the end of a board while Joseph made practiced cuts with a handsaw. Maybe He recalls childhood laughter with His siblings as they built towers and forts with the scraps left over from Joseph’s latest project.

Or maybe, there was a hint of sawdust in the air as He bore the cross, as the nails pierced His flesh, as He died for me.

Maybe, to Him, sawdust smells like love.

I John 4:7-10 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (ESV)

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