Making Lemonade

by Pastor Dan

          You have probably heard the phrase: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”  Well, I don’t know about you, but when I squeeze a lemon and try the lemon juice, it is very sour.  When a little sugar is added, it tastes quite different.
           In Genesis, we are told of a man named Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers.  A few years later, he was accused of a crime he did not commit and was thrown into jail.  The Bible tells us how Joseph got out of prison and went to work for the king of Egypt.  A few more years pass, and his brothers needed food and went to Egypt to buy food and found themselves buying it from their brother Joseph.  When they realized who they were buying food from, they were filled with fear thinking that Joseph would want to kill them.  
           Joseph had a response that is a true pitcher (picture) of lemonade.  Joseph told his brothers that the very thing they meant to harm him years earlier, God meant for his good and for their well-being.  You see, God desires to take your life’s hardest challenges and hurts and add His sweetness to it to produce the best you that you can be.  
           This thought is reinforced further by the Prophet Jeremiah when he wrote down the words that God told him to write:  “’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)   Jeremiah goes on to say that in your toughest times, when you ask God for His help and you desire His help, He will be there to help you.  Just like the lemon, there is no juice to add sugar to until the outer protected covering is removed.  God cannot add sweetness to our life unless we allow Him to remove the outer covering of stubbornness and pride.  When our stubbornness and pride are removed and the juice comes out, God will add His sweetness to it and make us better for it.  It is amazing to drink a big, refreshing glass of lemonade when you can still taste a bit of the tartness and finish off with the taste of the sugar added.  In doing so, we become an encouragement to others when they know our pain and hurt and can sense a sweetness coming from our life through it.  
           Do you have some lemons in your life right now? Maybe it is time for you to make some lemonade with them.  May I offer you some ideas on a great lemonade recipe?  Ask God for help.  I can hear some of you now.  How can I ask God for help when I am mad at Him for giving me these lemons?  I know the feeling; I hear what you’re putting down and have felt what you are feeling.  Please let go of the lemons, because when we don’t, the bag we put them in becomes hard to carry.  Even worse, the lemons in the bottom of the bag begin to rot and stink.  When you give God permission to peel back the outer protective layers of hurt and anger and allow Him to add His sweetener to it, it becomes a thing of beauty.  
           My second encouraging thought is to surround yourself with true friends. Not Facebook or Twitter friends or other social networks, but in-person friends.  My happy spot are my friendships built over a long period of time, particularly those I attend Church with.  Real friends will look out for your best interests even if they need to share truth with you that may hurt you at first but make you realize things in your life that you need to change.  
           The final thought is to begin thinking how your lemonade can provide refreshment to others.  Jesus died on the cross to restore a connection between God and you.  Jesus’ sacrifice has brought the sweetness of God to you.  Now go and be a sweetness to others.  We are praying for you. 
-Pastor Dan