"Do not despise the first season of growth for anything in your life." ~ Tammy Maltby
I didn't know that onions grew in the dark until I pulled one sprouting greens out of my pantry closet.
My husband shakes his head, watching me lug a big bag of onions from Costco into our home. It seems odd to buy in bulk when we're just two adults, a preschooler and a baby.
Hey, I love stir fry. I throw whole bulbs of this stuff into everything. I'm also pretty sure I've got some Italian in me, because I can't get enough onions into my pasta either.
So, when I first caught a pungent whiff of something smelly from the closet, I realized I hadn't finished off the 10 lbs of red onions in time.
I needed to destroy the evidence.
I held my breath, yanked the sack out of the closet, and ran them down the garbage disposal.
I sprayed Mountain-Spring-scented Oust! to get rid of any odors.
"There! …Hubby will never know."
As I shut the door, one onion rolled out of the sack and escaped to find its home in the corner of my closet.
There it grew, until one day, I wondered why my closet was smelling so bad each time I went to grab a snack.
Way down low, in the back corner where it's dark, something was growing wild and free.
My long forgotten onion had blossomed into a big stinky plant.
I didn't even have to water it.
Onions aren't the only things that bloom in the dark.
Misconceptions — about what it means to be blessed — can wreak discouragement in our lives.
When we attempt a new direction and step out in faith, we encounter two opposing views: how the world achieves results and the process God uses.
The world uses quantity and level of activity to gauge performance and effectiveness.
There was a time in my life when I bought into this philosophy.
It produced some negative spiritual misconceptions:
1. If I'm useful to God, the results will be productive and successful.
2. If I really trusted God, I wouldn't struggle with doubt or discouragement.
3. I should know what God's plan is for my life, or else I'm wasting time.
4. If I follow God's will for my life, things will always work out and people will always like me.
The overall fear that controlled my thinking was that God would bless me, if I made all the right moves.
I incorrectly believed that God's blessings meant successful results.
In contrast, the Greek word for "bless" in the New Testament is eulogy, which means to "speak well of or to express praise".
True blessing is having confidence that we belong to God and that He favors us — unconditionally.
Four Beautiful Blessings
Misconceptions aren't the only things that grow in the dark.
God is more powerful at creating wonderful, beautiful blessings in the dark as well.
4 Beautiful Blessings
1. Jesus called me to follow Him, not a plan. I am in a loving relationship, not a project.
"Relax, everything's going to be all right;
Rest, everything's coming together;
Open your hearts, love is on the way!" Jude 1:2
2. When I struggle with doubt or discouragement, nothing is wasted. God understands our deepest need for joy.
"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy." Psalm 126:5
3. God calls me to simply be faithful to the steps He shows me — no matter how random. God determines what grows and what lies fallow.
"This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself , the soil produces grain." Mark 1:26-29
4. Growth is slow and may even start with loss. Do not despise small beginnings.
"Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." John 12:24
"Who despises the day of small things?" Zechariah 4:10
The process God primarily uses to produce spiritual fruit is often slower and more invisible than we'd like.
God's Best Work
Maybe you're like me, at the starting point of a new season in life.
Perhaps you're going through a time of planting new seeds and not much appears to be growing.
If you've zeroed in on making new changes — be careful of those onions of discouragement growing in the dark.
If you find one growing wild and crazy, throw it out.
The good news is that someone more powerful knows about our discouragement and can get us through it.
~ God does His best work in the dark.
~ Keep walking forward.
~ He is growing something beautiful that will bless you.
In many cases, you won't believe it could be possible.
Later, you will smile and know.
It's not just onions that grow in the dark.
"Even darkness like this is not too dark for yourather, night is as clear as day,darkness and light are the same."Psalm 139: 11, 12
How is God working a blessing in you?