We cut it down, and placed it on the brush pile, a funeral bier, an altar that would soon reduce the offering to ash and smoke. Now, it was just a broken branch of deadened dry needles, but, once, not long ago, it had bestowed beauty, from fragrant pine needles, dripping a cedar sap of savory scent. Back then we didn’t know that it was destined for offering, for aromatic ascension.
One evening, after the harrowing thrill of a pummeling hailstorm passed, this cedar tree gave me a gift. Admiring the icy diamonds scattered in the yard I caught a whiff of Christmas. Fragrance transports you through the years like a daydream from the dusty corners of delightful memory, and I visited a long-forgotten moment of holiday bliss, lying under another cedar tree, breathing the aroma of Christmas.
I wondered, “Why would it smell like Christmas after a hailstorm?”
My interest piqued, I kneeled to examine the hail stones, to breathe a melting nothing of a disappearing moment. As the invisible ice dripped from my fingertips, I followed the fragrance to the cedar tree, the weeping cedar, beaten and bruised by the hailstones, crying the aroma of brokenness.
O, beautiful fragrance of fallibility, aroma of vulnerability as I discovered the secret of the scent. Like wisdom permeates the brain at an inspired moment, understanding wafted into my spirit like the perfume of the pine. The mystery of the beauty of the bruises is in the fragrance of the ascending offering.
”But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
This tree had endured a prior scourging by ice in the infamous ice storm of another winter, when horror cried out in the echo of cracking Ozark forests, the beginning of slow death for this cedar tree. Like the taste of the forbidden fruit, the slow sensation of the curse of death began when the mast of the tree was cracked by the burden of that first icy beating. The terminal TIMBERRRR slowly began, but before the final felling, the evergreen gave me the gift of its tears, weeping a fragrant final offering of the beauty of brokenness, ascending as a sweet fragrance through the forest.
As the pounding of the hailstones bruised the evergreen, releasing the fragrance, so the buffeting of life’s circumstances releases the fragrance of perseverance and victory in our lives, as we allow praise to ascend as our fragrant offering of faith.
“We are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” II Cor 2:15
Have you experienced the release of a fragrant aroma in the midst of the pummeling of life’s buffeting bruises? Have you noticed that praise is the perfume the transforms the bruises into beauty, the ashes into aroma as you press past the pain and discomfort of your present distress to release all the hurts? Break open the alabaster aroma of pain, and release it, as a sweet and fragrant offering on the altar of trust and forgiveness, and it will waft heavenward, a release of pain in exchange for joy, carried on the winds of faith, as a holy incense, a worshipful sacrifice pleasing unto the Lord.
By Shari Popejoy, Won Without WordsLeave a Comment
Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) says
I agree… tapping into our pain is the only real way to release the hurts and begin the healing process. I know that was true for my walk with an ED. Once the hurts are released and revealed you can begin to break them down, bit by bit, and begin experiencing a new life that is only available through Christ! Praise Him for that!
The Weeping Of The Evergreen: Guest Post at (in)courage | Won Without Words says
[…] today. (in)courage is the online division of Dayspring of Hallmark, and today my article, Weeping of the Evergreen is the featured article. Hope you get a chance to visit and […]
Shari Popejoy says
Brittnie, Yes, it is the song in the silent chains, that breaks the bondage –whatever that looks like; for Paul and Silas, praise permeated and collapsed the walls!
thank you for your words – I can’t even start to describe how they touched me – I need to reflect more on this and what it means to me, but I see that this is significant to me. Thank you.
this is what I think of when I read: ‘sacrifice thank offerings’: the breaking through of the pain and the bruising and lifting weary hands and an exhausted heart and laying it on the alter not expecting circumstances to change, but expecting to meet Him and honor Him through it all. Your words, they touched me tonight. Because it is in breaking open that alabaster jar, (because isn’t it true? sometimes we hold onto our pain) that healing can begin. And the fragrance of release is beautiful.
Blessings to you tonight, sister.
Pam Houston says
Shari, what a beautifully crafted writing on the Weeping of the Evergreen! Yes, deep calls unto deep as pain is released and the sweet fragrance invades our reality. You are so loved and appreciated for sharing your poignant and “hard-won” truths! “In God we boast all the day long and praise His name forever.” Psalm 44:8
Blessings all ours and ten-thousand besides!
The Weeping Of The Evergreen | Won Without Words says
[…] Today, I’d like to share an article I wrote for (in)courage, the Dayspring community for Hallmark, entitled The Weeping of the Evergreen. […]
The Fragrance Of Suffering | Won Without Words says
[…] The Fragrance Of Suffering Posted on April 5, 2012 by slpopejoy In yesterday’s post, I shared an article I wrote for (in)courage, entitled The Weeping Of The Evergreen. […]