Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
There is a proverbial phrase that states – when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I don’t know the origin of this phrase, but the accepted meaning is that you can take a sour situation and turn it into something sweet. At a cursory glance, this mantra works. Life will give us hardships, but we have the opportunity to turn them into something positive. Nevertheless, our experiences have taught us otherwise. Sometimes, there is no lemonade to be made because sin has no upside. There are times when darkness arrives, and no matter how much we learn along the way, the situation itself remains sour. We cannot escape the pain caused by the effects of sin. The hope we have, however, is that with Christ, no matter the situation, we can still find rest and arrive at a place of peace.
When considering the depths of our sorrow, I think about the words found in Psalm 22:1-2. It reads:
My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
Why are You so far from helping Me,
And from the words of My groaning?
O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear;
And in the night season, and am not silent.
Have you ever felt forsaken? I have. I prayed and prayed, but it seemed as though God had not heard me. In the waiting, His silence caused me to question the intentions of my own heart. Was I asking for too much? Had my requests become idols? Or was my faith simply too little? And while I don’t have all of the answers, I find comfort in the third verse of this psalm which starts by saying: But You are holy. It’s a reminder to us that God is still God.
Ecclesiastes 11:6 reinforces this when it says: In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike will be good. Just because we feel forsaken, doesn’t mean that we are. Even in the darkness, we must keep sowing seeds for good by spending time with Christ and allowing His Spirit to flow through our lives. Unfortunately, when life gives us lemons, sometimes the heaviness of our hearts distracts us from planting new seeds, but we mustn’t stop trusting in Christ. Always remember – the morning’s pain we carry does not stop God from delivering good in the evening.
Count it All Joy
The pain, though, is still present and in that context, it might be hard to understand James 1:2-4. It reads: count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Why would we count it all joy when experiencing the deepest traumas of our lives? Is that what God is really asking us to do?
Not so. We count it all joy, not because of the situation, but because we have a Savior that loves and cares for us. With Christ, hopelessness is not our ending. Overcoming is still an option. I understand, however, that there are many situations we’d prefer to not be in as opposed to learning how to triumph in the midst of them. Be careful not to get lost in the frustration. The sooner we accept that there are some lemons we must carry, the more God is able to provide us with the strength and peace needed to experience relief on our journeys.
I Will Give You Rest
In Matthew 11:28-30, Christ told us:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
The rest we find in Christ is one that helps us navigate through this world filled with darkness. Our other option is to become yoked to sin. Life only gives us two choices – to be connected to God’s true light, or a false one. It’s Satan’s trickery that allows us to think there is a third option of “freedom”, which actually still translates to darkness. Without God, we have a void that will never be filled, no matter how hard we try. Whether it’s our unsatiable appetite for more, or our love of money, success, or external validation, we become slaves to the idols we make, with no avail. There is no rest with Satan. To obtain true peace, we must be connected to its source – which is God.
Nevertheless, we may not consider God’s burden to be light when our situations are so heavy. We’re focused on the problem when God is saying that He’s the solution. In His mercy, God seeks to release us from the distress of sin’s bondage, although we are not insulated from its consequences in this world. Know that when we feel the darkness closing in, that does not mean God has abandoned us. Instead, Christ is calling us to lean in and seek rest. He says it twice to reinforce to us an important message – that with Him, no matter what is happening, peace and steadiness are still available to us.
The Power in Prayer
To reach God, He tells us we must come to Him, but how do we do that? Philippians 4:6-7 gives us insight when Paul wrote:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
It’s easy to become rash when trying to remove the pain. We just want it to stop, and so we start doing whatever we can, without always giving enough time to prayer and meditation. This is why the scriptures advise us to not be anxious for anything. We can do permanent damage with temporary emotions. Life will give us lemons, but we have the benefit of being able to hand those over to God. When we take our burdens to Christ in prayer, pleading with Him earnestly, and expressing gratitude for His presence in our lives, we allow Him the opportunity to take us so much further.
Afterall, making lemonade is what we can do, but have we ever considered what God will do? Life will give us its challenges, and we can’t make them all sweet. Such circumstances can give way to fear and doubt. Yet even in our deepest of sorrows, God is still creating good for our lives. As we discover His rest and experience His peace, we lay down the burdens we can no longer carry while seeing the beauty of God’s light in our lives. Darkness doesn’t have to have the final say. With God, hope in Him is still our best option.
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