Lemons and Lemonade

Written by: Steve Crowder

From his youth, Steve knew he was called into the ministry which ultimately led him to Applied Life Christian College in Arkansas. Now as Lead Pastor of Highway, after two decades of ministry experience, marriage and raising three kids, Steve teaches with unique insight and practical application.

April 30, 2024

Romans 8:28 NIV “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
We’ve all heard the phrase, “When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.” Somehow, this has become a battle cry to help us handle life’s disappointments when they arise. Now, if we’re totally honest, when it really gets hard, the last thing we have the energy for is cutting up and squeezing some sour fruit that will also require a sweetener to be drinkable! We would rather just let the lemons rot and decompose, but we’re trying to stay positive here, right? Yeah, we may feel like that in the middle of the crisis, but typically we can look back and see either how it wasn’t actually that bad or it ended up better than we could have expected.

This weekend was one of those ‘lemons and lemonade’ moments for me. Not talking about an end of the world situation, but a moment of dilemma that could have been super frustrating. My wife was talking to our daughter on the phone about our flight out to Alabama this week to bring her back from college for the summer. She was asking us if we knew what time she needed to be in Birmingham to pick us up at the airport. Overhearing their conversation, I quickly pulled up the email from United Airlines to confirm what Missy was telling her…Thursday, May 2nd at 4:15 pm. But my heart stopped for a second when I took a closer look at the confirmation email…somehow I had booked flights for Wednesday, May 1st!!! What? There’s no way! I wouldn’t have…couldn’t have made that error…except that I had. And the only way to change the flights to the following day would be to pay an additional $688 for the two tickets! Listen, I knew what was in the budget for the trip…and that was not in there! And on top of that, our daughter was tied up all day on Wednesday which would add to the need for an additional rental car or a late night pickup.

Just as my frustration level (with myself) was on its way up to peaking, my wise and amazing wife leaned over and said, “Why don’t we just keep our flights on Wednesday and have a night to ourselves in Birmingham?!” All I can say is, BRILLIANT! After all, I was sick this month during the week that we would have been celebrating our 26th anniversary which forced us to cancel our plans for a getaway in the mountains. Within thirty minutes we had a hotel picked out and booked! And then out of her mouth came that phrase, “When life gives you lemons…”

I think Paul was on to something here as well when he wrote this letter to Christians who were living in Rome. The chapter focuses on things that are just not right and in need of God’s redeeming power…in need of a drastic change for the better. Paul mentions how the earth is groaning in birth pangs awaiting its full redemption. We see that consistently on the news each week throughout the world. Just this last week areas of Nebraska, Ohio and Oklahoma were devastated by tornadoes passing through. Paul goes on to write how we can see the conditions and challenges that we face in our own physical bodies, in which we too groan in anticipation of health and healing. He even added how we often don’t know what to pray, so we lean into the help that the Holy Spirit offers us during those times. Then his thoughts culminate in this verse twenty-eight. As hard as it all is (and this life can be tough), there’s a ‘cheat code’ woven into the matrix per se. IF you love God…and you’ve surrendered your life to Him, He can turn all the destructive and frustrating moments of your life around and make some of the sweetest lemonade you’ve ever tasted. Ok, I added that metaphor to the end of that for emphasis. Maybe you would like better the story in the gospels of water being turned to wine, but you get the point.

Matthew 19:26 NIV “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
It may be a small thing that came across your desk today or something you dealt with at home. Maybe it is a really big bomb that was dropped in your lap unexpectedly this month. I don’t know WHAT it is, and I know you might not feel like getting the cutting board out to half some lemons. But, I will encourage you to “cast your cares” on Jesus. The Apostle Peter said for us to do this because Jesus cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). It may take longer than 30 minutes to see the sweetness swirling in the pitcher, but it will eventually come together for those who love Him and are living their lives with His purpose as their priority.

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