I’m not a fan of the phrase “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Either way, you still end up with a sour taste in your mouth. The phrase implies that no matter how dire the circumstances, you can transform the lemon with water and a ton of sugar and make it exceptionally better. Ask those who have faced an unexpected turn of events, and they may tell you it’s not that simple.
Much of the phrase has to do with the approach to the situation. Sure, you can look at the problem and view it more positively – possibly even sugar-coat it- and say the situation isn’t as bad as it seems. That addresses your mental state and your reaction to the difficulty, unfortunately, it won’t change the outcome: Your loved one still died too young; your marriage still ended; your memories and possessions were still swept away in a flood; or your injury from the car accident didn’t completely heal.
That doesn’t mean you can’t with God’s help make some positive changes, You can create new routines in the absence of a family member; you can build new relationships and make new memories and buy new possessions; and you can learn to live with your maladies. As you take these new steps and deal honestly with the emotions that accompany those changes (without getting bewildered by them), you can take healthy, constructive steps to move forward.
The main reason I’m not a fan of the lemon phrase is that all the pressure to make the lemonade falls on us; as if we’re doing all the squeezing. God’s Word promises that He’s not sitting idly by but is with us and acting on our behalf through our trials: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. “(Romans 8:28) We know that when “God works,” He’s doing the squeezing! That doesn’t mean the problems go away or that you’ll easily see the transformation into lemonade. That may take longer than you realize. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own efforts to improve a bad situation that we don’t recognize God’s hand in the transformation to make it truly good.
God cares for us and knows how seemingly awful conditions play out in the long run. For our part, the best squeezing we can do happens when we press our hands together in prayer to place our worries and concerns in His hands– trusting that He is control. That peace of mind allows us to pray, Lord not my will in this outcome, but yours be done.
Rev. Paul H. Wiegert
Stephen Ministry Director