It was my last year of high school. It was early afternoon, just after our lunch break. The fire alarms went off. We first thought it was another fire drill. We were in English class. The teacher opened the door to the hallway. We could smell the smoke. This was no fire drill! We quickly exited the building according to the evacuation plan and stood out on the lawn. There was an electrical fire in the school that had started in the electrical room.

Fast forward at least thirty years later. It is a Sunday evening at our worship service. As the message is being preached, I smelled the same thing that I had smelled that afternoon when our high school caught fire: an electrical fire. I started looking around. It seemed to be coming from the stage area, but I could see no smoke coming out of the walls or the electrical outlets.

The preacher was talking about the lightnings of God, meaning feeling the power of God go through you as being hit with electrical charges. I knew what that was all about as I had experienced that before in my life on multiple occasions. What I was smelling corresponded with what was going on in the room spiritually speaking. Later I checked with someone else and they smelled the identical thing: smoke from an electrical fire. This person too was looking around the room to see if something was on fire.

The power of smell is amazing. A smell can bring back a memory of years ago in an instant. It can bring us right into the moment as if it happened yesterday, even if we haven’t thought about it in years.

God can use the power of smell to communicate with us. The environment was electrically charged. Sometimes we smell in the natural what is happening in the spiritual. Because I usually don’t smell things that are not there, I knew it was God. The fact that it was confirmed by another person in the room told me that I was not just imaging things. God is amazing.

I want to encourage you today to broaden how you hear God. Maybe you have never smelled anything in the spirit. Maybe you will think of a smell that is not present in the room. Maybe God will want to use that to speak to you or give a prophetic word to someone else.

Expand your horizons. If you have never heard God in this way, ask Him to teach you. He loves to teach us.

By Ralph Veenstra