This weekend David and I went camping at Roaring River. It was very relaxing and so peaceful. As we made preparations for our adventure - making to-do lists, gathering equipment, packing necessities, food, etc. - one of the small details was to chop up an onion. David chopped the onion on Wednesday and placed it in a baggy in the fridge. Well, this was no normal onion. Its fumes quickly filled the fridge and would plaster your nostrils upon opening. This thing was the epitome of POTENT.
When it came time to pack up and leave on Thursday, we decided to double-bag the diced bits of oniony fumes AND put them in their own tupperware container inside the cooler to keep them from contaminating all the other fresh foods. We got everything packed, and off we went on our exciting adventure into the wild.
We had chosen a camping site with no trees - our logic behind this was to allow for the prime star gazing experience. We thought we had struck gold with this camp site. (The experienced camper would immediately recognize this as the #1 rookie mistake). As morning dawned, the heat of the sun quickly turned our tent into a crock pot and we began the infamous game of "Dodge the Sun" - which involves laying on a blanket to read and moving every ten minutes as the sunlight shifts and bakes your skin. This was when we realized that picking a campsite with no trees was not among some of our "brighter" moments - no pun intended.
As the cooking events of the weekend had taken place, we let down our guard against the vicious onions and used their designated tupperware to store some leftovers, allowing the onions to sit in the cooler (now only single-bagged for some reason). But we used the rest of the onions for breakfast that morning and the onion fiasco was far behind us (so we thought). As the sun continued to blaze our campsite, we decided it was time to pack up and head home to the promising shade under our roof.
So the fun began - we packed all the leftovers, deflated the queen size blow-up mattress (that took up our entire tent by the way, but we also learned this is the ultimate way to sleep in a tent), folded both the mattress and the tent and successfully stored them each in the bags in which they originally came (score!), and worked up a near-drenching sweat in our no-shade zone which led to a dyer need for a drink of water.
Disclaimer for this next part of the story: Please keep in mind I just slept a whole night without my box fan (those of you who know me well know this is worthy of winning the Nobel Peace Prize), and I peed in the woods in the middle of the night, and I'm just downright incredibly thirsty and not thinking straight at this point. Let's continue...
David then pops the seal to drain the water from the cooler. All I can see is a crystal clear stream of ice cold water begging me to come and quench my thirst. The thoughts of how taboo this is quickly escape my mind and I'm overcome by my undying desire for a cold drink of this liquid that is so beautifully sparkling in the sun, and I just do it. I walk over to where the water is streaming from the bed of David's truck out of the red cooler, open my mouth, and the cooling sensation that splashes onto my tongue is DELIGHTFUL and REFRESHING... but only for a moment. The delightfulness and the refreshingness quickly vanish and I am overcome by an awful taste of... ONION. Yes. Onion. Flavored. Water. Those three words should never be side-by-side. That wretched onion had somehow managed to poison EVERYTHING it came into contact with. Its fumes permeated every drop of water that poured out of that cooler and now into my unsuspecting mouth. I immediately regretted my decision and spit it out as fast as I could. I couldn't find my toothbrush quickly enough to cleanse myself of this vile poison. Promising me something which I so desperately desired, but fooling me all too easily into its nasty scheme, this foul liquid only left me yearning for what I had originally desired even more.
Read the last sentence of that paragraph one more time. Sound familiar? All too often temptation lures us in with promises on which it can't deliver. Temptation plays upon the very things which we desire. It offers us fulfillment. It offers us satisfaction. And somehow it manages to appear in the exact form of the thing for which we are searching. The onion water itself looked NO different than the water that pours out of an ice cold water bottle. If I had paused for just a moment though, and considered the SOURCE (a dingy red cooler with melted ice that our dirty hands had dug through and that had been plastered with onion fumes) I would have chosen otherwise. My eyes deceived me, and my desire led me astray. I settled for the immediate, rather than waiting for the best (ice cold water bottles that, yes, were right inside the cooler).
"But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." James 1:14-15
We must guard ourselves against the temptations this world has to offer us. We must first identify the deepest desires that lie within our hearts. We cannot be tempted by things which we do not desire. Once we have examined ourselves and have allowed the Lord to search our hearts, we must then take steps to keep those desires in check. I think that most of our desires can, in fact, be traced all the way back to God-given desires - the desire to love and to be loved, the desire to please and succeed, the desire for satisfaction and contentment. But from who are you seeking love? Who are you striving to please? In what things are you seeking contentment? When we take our eyes off of Jesus and begin to look at what the world dangles in front of us, this is when those desires get twisted and we settle for the immediate. This is when we get duped into drinking onion water rather than waiting for the Living Water.
"Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you." Proverbs 4:25