Originally published November 15, 2010
It seems like I’ve been cutting up a lot of onions lately. Fajitas. Chili. Homemade soups. People have been cooking with onions since the days of Israel’s captivity in Egypt, and probably even earlier than that. You’ve really got to wonder about the first person to pick up an onion, slice into it, be overwhelmed by noxious fumes, and say, “Oh yeah. We’ve got to put that thing in the stew. That’s just what it needs!”
But, lately, my walk with the Lord has been a lot like an onion. He keeps peeling back layer after layer of my heart. And the more he does that, the more my sin stinks. And the more I realize I stink, the more it stings me. And the more it stings me, the more I weep.
But God has promised that, when I give Him those sins, He will take them away and “cast [them] into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19), and the sting will be gone. Just like when I drop those onions into my pot of soup. No more tears, no more stink. I wash my hands thoroughly, and I’m clean (Psalm 51:2). It’s over.
Or is it?
Why did I cut up that onion in the first place? After all, I could have just left it sitting in the fridge. There wouldn’t have been any pain or tears.
But my soup would have been weak and lacking the robust flavor it could have had.
No good comes from an onion that’s been left in the refrigerator. It’s only when I cut up the onion and put it into the soup that anything good can come out of it. As it cooks, the onion’s awful fumes are transformed into a full and savory flavor that completes the taste of the soup.
And that’s why I keep coming back to God and asking Him to reveal my sin to me. It’s a painful and teary experience, but when He takes my sin, forgives me, and deals with me, only good can come of it. What “cooks out” of my sin might be a lesson learned, compassion for others strugging with the same sin, and the wisdom to help them, humility, or more dependence on God.
Dealing with my sin with the Lord makes me stronger in Him, and that’s mmm, mmm, good.