When Life Gives You Lemons

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
I remember hearing this expression as a kid and missing the positivity of the statement. I would retort, “But you also need water and sugar to make lemonade!” Now that I have softened on being a literalist, I can appreciate the mantra.
Make the best of a bad situation. Find beauty in the storm. Dance in the rain. I can get down with that.
I suppose even God wants to develop us to constantly believe for the best and to never lose hope.
But here’s the honest truth. When life gives us lemons, there is only so much we can humanly do to—
(Hold on… As I’m writing, I’m sitting in a Panera, and I’m way too distracted by the conversation next to me. Let me put on my headphones and play some white noise…
There, that’s better.)
There is only so much we can humanly do to make good out of a bad situation. To be frank, there are so many circumstances that are far beyond our control. While making lemonade out of lemons sounds like such a wonderful thing, perhaps God desires that we instead hand our lemons to Him. Listen, if we expose our lemons to the Lord and surrender them to Him, He can do so much more with them than make mere lemonade. I believe our God makes five-course meals out of lemons.
Ephesians 4:20 so confidently declares, “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.”
I love that! God’s Word is such absolute manna for the soul.
The greatest outcome that you can imagine to your very lemon-y situation—the best, most perfect outcome—still greatly pales in comparison to what our God can do and desires to do. While we are praying for lemonade out of our lemons, God plans to blow us out of the water with a five-course meal. For our part, He asks that we simply trust our lemons to Him.
Hm, trust!
Trust can be such a tricky thing. Oftentimes we deceive ourselves into believing that we trust the Lord, when in reality, our hands and minds are still tangled up in the situation, trying to make lemonade. We are praying and believing for the outcome we desire to see, not necessarily the outcome God desires to see.
Friends, many of us have lemons on our hands. Lemons bring anxiety, fear, regret, sorrow, turmoil, a lack of forgiveness, and a host of other ill side effects that trample the peace Christ gives. Even if we can make lemonade from our lemons, it may not be God’s will that we strong-arm our situations into our preferred outcomes. Instead, offer your lemons to God. Pray for His will to be done.
And let me address something here, if I may. Many fear praying God’s will, as if what God wills for our lives is something to be feared or that He gleefully inflicts pain and sorrow on us. This is something I can say with confidence, even if I must say it through tears sometimes: God’s plans will always result in our good and His greatest glory. To trust God is to know His character.. He is our Father. He loves us. He tempers His awesome might with unreasonable kindness and preferential blessing. It’s true that He allows into our lives what we need, but the sweetest moments I’ve had in His presence have been when I’ve felt I was at the very bottom of a well. And every single time without fail, God has turned my lemons into something beautiful. That’s what our God does… that who our God is.
Stop trying to make lemonade. Let go of your lemons and surrender them to God. He is to be trusted!
All my love,

Josh
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