The expression most uttered when facing difficult circumstances is “when life gives you lemons make lemonade”. From my experience, not all lemonades have the flavor that is palatable for the taste buds. In the medical community lemons are sometimes referred to as the disinfectant for the body, and research is finding that hot water with lemons each morning is a great source for staying healthy. However, let’s face it lemons without the right sweetening source is “sour” and distasteful. It takes the right mixture of lemons with just enough sweeteners to get that just right flavor of sweet lemonade.
What Biblical character gets conjured up in your mind when you hear words like affliction, suffering and loss? The one who first pops into my mind is Job. The Bible says God gave Satan permission to inflict sour lemons on Job (Job 1:8); the question God posed to Satan was “Have you considered and reflected on My servant Job? Can you imagine this with me, as Satan roamed about God stopped him in his tracks and poses this intentional question about one He considered to be blameless and upright (Job 1:1). The narrative goes on and on for 42 chapters starting with losses and afflictions (lemons) and culminating with double fold blessings (sweet lemonades).
The Bible also mentions Paul, another lemon recipient by saying “Because of the surpassing greatness and extraordinary nature of the revelations [which I received from God], for this reason, to keep me from thinking of myself as important, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan, to torment and harass me—to keep me from exalting myself!” (2 Corinthians 12:7) Though not mentioned as such, most commentaries observe this as some kind of sickness pronounced on the man of God. The end result comes in verse 9: “My grace is sufficient for you [My loving kindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” (Sweet lemonade)
What do your lemons look like? Are they in the form of afflictions, suffering, losses, or sickness? Maybe you answered all the above. The reaction we invoke has a lot to do with what is produced in our lives. The first reaction is usually shock (sour detestable lemons). However, if God says His grace is sufficient and offers mercy and loving kindness as companions for us, our reaction should be a sense of peace. The problem lies in not being able to embrace our companions given to us by the Lover of our souls. He says “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10), but we let impatience and doubt replace His loving kindness and mercy as our companions. We allow those sour lemons to inflict severe blows into our taste buds causing us to flinch in despair (sour lemonade).
There is a chapter 42 waiting for all God’s children, a place of double for our trouble like Job. The emotional turmoil, however, blinds us from the sweet savor of our loving Father. All we can taste is the sour lemons of defeat when God is offering the sweeteners of blessings, joy, hope, patience, kindness, restoration and deliverance. Our job is to strategically combine these ingredients to produce Sweet Lemonade. If you are facing devastating circumstances in this season of your life, be encouraged all is not lost. God has a perfect plan and it’s not to hurt or harm (lemons), but to give hope and a blessed future (Sweet Lemonade). Jeremiah 29:11