Wednesday, February 3, 2016

When God Uses Onions

Onions. They really aren’t anything special to look at… little round layers of white thick, wrapped in red and yellow thin. When supper requires several, they leave hands smelling and eyes stinging wet. When planted their green stems rise straight up from there home in the earth, strong and proud.  Fields of green, charming the eyes.  Lush life receiving rays.  As laundry is wrung and strung to receive those same rays, I often found my eyes glancing over to take in their green offering of beauty.  I anticipated the day they would be harvested.. to watch workers bend and unearth the gift.  But as weeks turned to months the tall green began to bend.  Vibrant stalks turning shades of brown as they drooped back to the dirt that had birthed them.  The fields of inspiration took on a hue altogether different, one of dilapidated-dying.  And then one morning I took my place at the rail to see backs bent in harvest. 
And God used ordinary onions to teach me an extraordinary truth.
You see, we humans, with our human eyes and human wisdom.. peer out into a world made with a God mouth and God eyes and God wisdom, and make judgments. 
We declare that which is blooming, that which is vibrant, and growing, and strong, to be beautiful and successful.  Days all sunshine and blue sky, circumstances tinted with rosy.. and we are soaring high in emotion.  The mountains appear all majestic and glorious.  Promotion, top scores, new houses, spouses who dote, abundance in income, perfect children…. It all tastes so sweet. Our steps seem to bounce with ease, heels springing up high.  Praises bubble up and out… we cry ‘GOD IS GOOD.”
And, Amen! He is!!
But what about when streaks of bright-hot lightning streak through our skies… and the wind brings in a storm.  When we glance up at that which had been light, and watch it dim as the clouds gather.  Frantic we run to close the windows… don’t allow that rain and pain to blow through.  Darkness has descended.. this cannot be good.  He lost his job, she failed, sickness, betrayal, kids who don’t listen, downsizing to afford. Journal pages lay with words scattered jagged, pain carving letters deep.  Our strength and endurance is waning.  We grope about lighting flesh candles… trying to bring light.  Words of doubt fly from lips, too which praise now seems foreign.  Our hopes and emotions lie like dirty rags on a worn-out floor. Every way our eyes turn.. everything seems to have a depressing brown hue. We only pray to ‘somehow’ make it through… blindly grasping at the grace which is said to be all-sufficient.  Pats on the back and knowing nods are our only encouragement on this tiresome trek through this seeming valley.
But what if we were on the mountain all along? 
When the clouds roll in where I live… it doesn’t change my location.  I still reside back that long lane at the top of the hill.  All that is hindered is the depth and distance that my flesh eyes can percieve.
And so, I am beginning to think that we have this all wrong.  And that maybe, like the onions… with flesh eyes all we see is the dilapidated dying leaves, when the real treasure.. the true gift.. that sought after prize lies hidden there within the dirt.
Ever feel like there is a lot of dying and dirt covering in your life? Ever look at a situation and see the leaves stooping heavy with rot? 
Maybe the treasure is just beneath, waiting for the proper time.  Soon you will push aside the brown that covers, to discover a round, ripe, reason for it all.
You see, we can’t see.. we are slow too understand and comprehend.  So often in the seemingly dark times in life… God is working, in covering, to craft and birth the miraculous and perfect. 
Lay the seed on top of the soil, where things are always bright, the sun always shining, and the skies always blue… and it will never grow. It takes planting and covering in dirt for real life to spring forth. 
We can’t see the forming and transforming in that hidden place. 
But, God sees.  And His wisdom designed and created it to be that way.
So maybe we.. like the ordinary onion.. need to be planted.. grown up in green, and allowed to wither in brown, for the extraordinary to be birthed inside of us.
Do we want a life of superficial and imagined growth… lying like a seed atop the soil, where everything is always sunny but nothing ever really changes?!
Or, do we want a deeper life?! ..To enter into the darkness and dying so we can witness the mighty workings of our Awesome God.
And when we say yes and embrace the withering required, only to discover what we always dreamed of lies just beneath.. just beyond….  Then, we will be able to say with all confidence that God is good, rain or shine.  We will then know, that though clouds swirl all around… just behind, lie the Glorious peaks, fashioned by our Gracious Creator.
Maybe the key to seeing isn’t changed eyes, or changed circumstances… but a changed mind.
Life look bleak? Situations and circumstances drooping… as the hue of dying spreads?
Wait! Hope! Something beautiful is coming!