Has anyone completely mastered the preparing of the onion for a recipe without crying? Maybe I am one of only a few who has not. However, I have found some ways that minimize the tears, such as wearing sunglasses during the process, though it is not wholly foolproof in my experience. I have heard it expressed of trials that test our faith, how God will peel away at our lives like an onion, exposing and working on an area of our life that needs attention, just one layer at a time. There is typically no shortage of tears in this perfecting and purifying process too, but we can be thankful that our Lord usually does not just brutally peel, chop and finely dice our whole life all at once!
I am so grateful for the meticulous care and patience that our Heavenly Father has for His child in His mindfulness towards us, but there are at times throughout the one-layer-at-a-time process that we can be found putting on our sunglasses to be desensitized against the power that brings on the tears; numbed by complacency that leads to small, unrepentant compromises that start to stack up. It is these times that may call for a little heavier hand of discipline to prod us along, keep us awake and out of devastating danger. In those times, multiple layers may need to be handled at one time in order to preserve the flavor of the purpose behind our life.
Twice thus far in my walk/run with Jesus Christ have I been stripped down to the core quickly, as if I’ve been in the hands of a master chef at the chopping block slinging sharp knives with fast precision for the competitive prize. It has felt as though I was removed of everything externally exposed then cut away from the flesh until there was nothing more left to the imagination. Our minds are redirected from wandering toward seeing only the truth in this naked state. No room for modesty or pride, just humility that opens the way to our bare need for God and repentance. This purity readies us for a much bigger work ahead than He has ever entrusted us with before. Jesus Christ did that with Simon Peter and He would do that for us, as His beloved disciples too.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32
During my naked seasons, I felt my exposed life in shambles was in no shape or place to continue serving in ministry as a credible witness. I headed for the sidelines until my life was dressed for the race again. But God reminded me that HE would never tell me to leave the race; it is the enemy that desires us sidelined and deemed ineffective. God Almighty did not mistakenly assign us our lanes in the race from His sovereign, all-knowing vantage point. He will complete the work He started in us right from where we are. We are to be ready in and out of season to minister the gospel using the gifting we each have been given.
We are never deemed ineffective. He wastes nothing. Yes, God may need to slow our pace to a restful, healing walk and even at times cause us to stop and bend a knee to the ground in the middle of our designated lane to catch breath again from Him…but right there in the middle of our mission road lane, God is able to shine the light on our darkness, help us throw off all that hinders us and shed our filthy clothes. His grace that covers our nakedness and our perseverance to press on toward the prize still, with a countenance now filled with repentant humility as a result, will become a greater work that astonishes everyone with wonder and awe of God’s glory. The people we minister to will not be deprived or hindered by our own lack of being well-dressed, rather, they will see more of God in our broken vulnerability and genuineness as He makes up for our shortage.
God is clear in His Word that we are to keep fighting the good fight of the faith, to guard the calling and fulfill our ministry. God guards us and equips us as we yield to what God deems is the right time and the right place to fulfill the ministry, serving fully-clothed in righteousness for our nakedness.