By Christina Roberts

"Akim! Akim!" I heard a voice outside my mudhut call for me using my Dinka name.

I cracked the door to see one of our compound workers standing there. He had come to tell me that some of the construction workers wanted to speak to me. I had previously heard of some disputes between the workers regarding the food we provide, and sure enough, they wanted to talk about onions.

They were upset because some people were getting onions and others weren’t; some were hoarding onions so that only a select few would get to sprinkle the top of their beans with the crunchy onion flavor. As silly as this sounds, it has been a major point of stress for me. If onions are provided, then so must a knife. The knife likes to “walk off the compound” occasionally, which results in complaints about missing knives. It’s difficult to explain the feelings of frustration due to constant demands, feelings of entitlement, and lack of gratitude (the onions are not the only thing that create strife—oil, tea, bicycles, rainboots…just to name a few).

But then I realized, people are people, regardless if they live in a suburb of Houston or a remote village in South Sudan. As long as we are living in this imperfect world, nothing this earth has to offer will ever truly satisfy.

I’m no different. How many times have I complained to God that He is not providing onions for me? Or that if he is providing onions, I grumble that there is no knife to cut the onions? How many times have I questioned God as to why something is not working my way or thinking that God did not provide what I thought I needed?

As I reflected more on this, I realized there are so many times in my life that God may have not provided the onions I thought I needed or felt entitled to, but he provided something that has a far greater value than the onion I thought I needed. Or maybe there are times when I think there isn’t a knife to cut my onion, but He has already given me the tool I need to accomplish the task.

Through this onion “crisis," I have been challenged to pray for contentment wherever I am at and to give thanks in ALL circumstances. I still have a long way to go, but this verse is an encouragement to me as I strive for greater contentment and an increased sense of gratitude.

"I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing. I am able to do all things through the one who strengthens me." Philippians 4:12-13 

photo credit: Red Onions via photopin (license)