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Views and opinions: Stopping to smell the lilacs may just lead to big change


Exodus 3:2-4 — “The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.

So Moses said, ‘I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.’ When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, ‘Moses, Moses!” And he said, ‘Here am I.’”

Stop and smell the lilacs. I revamped this saying the other day as I hurried down a side street on my way to the office. The delicate purple clusters hung down at the side of the road and the fragrance drifted through the air.

I glanced at my watch, then stopped to bury my nose in the blossoms and drink in the lovely scent. What were a few extra minutes compared to enjoying this small pleasure?

We are so busy in this world of ours. The tight schedule dictates our life. But think of all the things we miss because of our strict adherence to time. Many parents miss their children’s growing up as they advance their careers. The beauty of creation goes unnoticed as we flit right by on our way to the next appointment.

A hurting person is left uncomforted because our schedule won’t allow more than a quick conversation. We forfeit so many small opportunities, and sometimes we may even miss a much bigger encounter.

Moses was a shepherd for his father-in-law’s flock. His business was raising and caring for sheep. One day while moving the flock to another grazing area, Moses saw a strange sight. An everyday, ordinary bush was engulfed in a blazing fire.

Moses could have taken a quick peek like a rubbernecker passing a traffic accident and then moved on, but instead he stopped to smell the lilacs, so to speak. He turned aside to look more closely at this strange phenomenon.

The raging fire was not consuming the bush like it should have been. Moses moved closer. A voice – God’s voice – called out to him.

This was the beginning of Moses’ call to lead the children of Israel from their bondage in Egypt to the land that God had promised them. God changed many lives because Moses stopped to smell the lilacs.

God often speaks in the quiet moments of life. The problem in our culture is that quiet moments are few and far between. We are conditioned to feel uncomfortable with silence and immediately try to fill it with noise and activity.

Our busyness keeps us running with no time to spare. We ignore all the lilacs along the path as we hurry on to meet our next appointment. As you review your calendar this week, plan some time for unexpected opportunities.

Be ready to hear God speak in a quiet moment of life. Enjoy the silence. Look at the world around you with new eyes and take the time to stop and smell the lilacs. In that moment, if you are listening carefully, you may hear God speak, and your life will never be the same.


Sandra Sheridan is a Midwest wife and mother of five. She shares her messages to her children with Farm World. Visit her at