Have you heard this popular saying before, When life hands you lemons, just make lemonade? I did a very scientific search last night… on google of course, and typed in this phrase. I found pages upon pages of blogs, sermons, and stories of how we turn our lemons of life into lemonade with smiling faces and peppy spirits.
But what if I pose to you a thought, sometimes we don’t need to make lemonade with our lemons.
Because making lemonade from our lemons is actually putting us in the driver seat of our lives, turning us into our redeemer. When WE turn our lemons- (pain, suffering, brokenness, hardships) into a beautiful glass of cool lemonade that is easier to swallow, we become our own god. This way of living becomes about us and not about Jesus. It is inward focused on what we have done, based on what we have accomplished as so to diminish the reality of the suffering in our lives. We minimize ours and other’s pain when we are always quickly looking for the lemonade to make us feel better about our suffering. We are a people who are overly fixated on results and transformation (and I am so guilty of this in my life) that we often link healing and victory to results we see with our eyes. Therefore we work real hard to make sure there is a glass of lemonade being offered so as to think we are showing others our results of healing. Because who really wants to sit holding lemons for the rest of their life for others to pass judgement on their suffering?
Making lemonade become all about us-and our glory. But guess what, Jesus doesn’t need us to do anything- It is not up to us. Jesus can get the glory in the pit of suffering and in the healing. He doesn’t need our pretty little “I made it stories” for him to look good. God is to be worshipped whether results we see come or not. We don’t have to worry about rescuing ourselves–it is not up to us to redeem our pain, hardships, suffering, therefore, we don’t need to run around making delicious lemonade. And in that there is freedom.
God can be found in the lemons of life, not just the lemonade As Tullian writes in Glorious Ruin, “a false theology of Glory sees God at work in the victories of life rather than the defeats….in tragedy the theologian of glory will look for some measure of improvement on which to hang her hope, and if not, she attempts to be the agent of the improvement herself.” Turning lemonade out of our lemons often loses sight of our true hope in Jesus and the cross. Whether there is a transformation into delicious lemonade that comes of your situation, or nothing at all–the lemons, the sour things of life are all about Jesus. It is not about the story of the lemonade we can squeeze from our lemons because we already have victory in Jesus through the cross. We don’t have to, in our own ways try to find some meaning to our suffering by the means of making lemonade. No, our meaning and victory already lies in Jesus. Nothing else. Just Jesus. And our busy little bodies sometimes have a hard time accepting the simplicity of the full-weight of Gospel.
Sometimes we don’t need to make lemonade. We just need to love Jesus right where we are at– holding our sour lemons in our hands with our eyes fixed on the cross. Because He is our great redeemer.