I guess that my nasal passages had not been assaulted enough last week. This week I got a call from a good friend, “Hey, there is this really bad smell at my office. Can you go figure out what it is?”
My first reaction was an absolute, NO! I have smelled enough bad things to last me a good while. This is really not something I do for a hobby. Perhaps he heard about our adventure last week and thought that I enjoyed this sort of thing. You can read more about that here if you missed it. But, as my friend described their need, I found myself heading out to their office to seek out this stench for them.
I walked in the door and was greeted by the receptionist, “Oh, I am so glad you are here. It reeks in that room!” As I made my way up the stairwell I greeted another individual who said, “I hope you find it, things have been getting worse all day!” Just before I entered the office I was warned, “Prepare yourself, the stench is awful” I took a few deep breaths of fresh air as I prepped my nostrils for another bout with stank. I stepped up to the door and sampled a small whiff of the air and thought, “What in the world?”
My friend told me that he imagined I was going to find a dead rat. This stench was not a dead rat. It smelled as though someone had left eggs sitting out for far too long. Thankfully this rotten egg smell was not as strong as it could have been. It certainly had been lingering around long enough to make its presence quite clear, but they had wisely opened all the doors to aerate the room.
I was able to decipher that the smell was emanating from an equipment room adjacent to the office where the smell was first noticed. I poked, prodded, and sniffed at every crack and crevis in that room. No luck. I began to stick my snuffer into every cabinet and closet. No luck. I spent an hour or more sniffing around. Quite a few times in the process I had to step outside for some fresh air because I would start adjusting to the smell. Then I would reenter the room and be blasted by the aroma once more. I thought often, “How do I get myself into these things?”
Eventually, I found an equipment casing that seemed to smell just a touch stronger than the rest of the room. I cracked the case, highly expecting to find something dead contained within. But, it looked clean. There was nothing out of the ordinary. I was about to close it all up when I caught the smell stronger once again. After placing my nostrils over every inch of that equipment I finally determined that it was a battery. It was the last thing I expected to smell like rotten eggs. I thought, “This couldn’t be the issue?” So, I pulled out my smartphone and plugged this into the search bar: “Battery rotten egg smell.” Here was the first result:
“Over-charging lead acid battery can produce hydrogen sulfide. The gas is colorless, very poisonous, flammable and has the odor of rotten eggs.”
WHAT???!!! Did I read that correctly? I have been in here for over an hour intentionally breathing in this stuff! At this point, the equipment was immediately powered down and the battery was removed hastily from the building. I even made sure to give it plenty of space in case it decided to explode like a Galaxy Note. I was done taking chances! I thank the Lord that at this point, I am not dead.
A lot of people in that office knew something was wrong. I walked in and instantly could smell that things were off. None of us realized how wrong things actually could have been. I am glad that when my friend realized he could not deal with the issue himself, he was wise enough to find someone who could. If he hadn’t, who knows how this story would have gone.
In our lives, we sometimes come across things that spiritually don’t “smell” right. We can’t quite put our finger on it, but things just don’t seem to settle in our spirit the way they should. It is important that we try to seek out why. To make an attempt to discern what it is that is making us uncomfortable. The danger is that if we don’t, if we just allow the issue to hang around in our lives, we will often adjust to it. We will grow accustomed to the stench, and come to a point that we cannot smell it anymore. Others can come by and tell us all about it, but we don’t even realize it. The worst part, it might be more dangerous than we ever could have realized.
The scriptures teach us that strong Christians, “have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” We must never ignore the things that cause us to lose our peace. God gave us the Holy Spirit for a reason. When He begins to cringe and we find ourselves uncomfortable in a situation; we must seek out the stench of sin, find it’s source, and eradicate if from our lives. Sometimes, like Joseph, that just means its time to get out!
Have you ever felt that things around you just didn’t “smell” right? Have you ever experienced being around some sinful activity so long that you became desensitized to it? In what areas of the faith do you think we have lost our ability to smell? Let us know what you have “sniffed out” in the comments below.
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