At the risk of revealing my age, I’d like to take you on a quick tour of my bedroom when I was a teenager. Picture bright yellow walls, royal blue curtains, and an orange bedspread. Atop the bed sits a smiley face pillow and an autograph dog. Covering the yellow walls are really wild posters with puppies that say “I Wav You,” and a cat hanging by her claws reminding me to “Hang in There.” Before I lose you to wails of laughter, look just to the left of the Peter Maxx peace sign and you’ll see the poster of a bowl of lemons sitting next to a frosty pitcher admonishing “When Life gives you Lemons … Make Lemonade!” But, this is 2016, so I’d like to update my circa-1970’s poster to read, “When Life gives you Lemons … Make Lemon Water!” I will share more about that shortly.
Before we get lost in analogies, read Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIV). This passage points out two foundational truths. First, Paul tells us we live in evil days. Satan wants to deliver lemons every chance he gets. No matter what, struggles and trials will come our way.
Secondly, Paul tells us to be careful how we live to make the most of every opportunity. So what do we do with the lemons? Do we hide them in a closet where we hope no one will find them? Or, do we stash them in so many places throughout the house, we can’t even find them all? Have we been giving them away to others who have hurt or offended us? I have a better idea. Let’s make lemon water! Lemonade may be sweet and tasty, but lemon water has many more health benefits. I recently read that lemon water can cleanse our body of toxins and maintain a healthy pH balance creating an environment hostile to a number of diseases. It strengthens our immune system, helps prevent joint pain, and nourishes brain cells.
Perhaps God is inviting you to mix up some lemon water to promote your spiritual health and well-being. Perhaps God wants to use your bitter experiences to cleanse you from self-centered and self-sufficient tendencies. Maybe God is using life’s difficulties to help you maintain a balanced life preventing the disease of arrogance and pride from taking root. I wonder if God wants to use your painful circumstances to strengthen you by keeping your mind clearly focused on Him.
I don’t know about you, but I want to heed Paul’s advice and be ready for the lemons. I want to be wise in how I live. I want to make the most of every opportunity God brings, the times of trial as well as seasons of rest. But most of all, I want to allow God to use every single circumstance and experience He brings into my life to grow and become spiritually healthy, prepared to walk in wisdom.
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
About the Writer:
Teri is a wife and mother of five children. She is passionate about teaching, writing and ministering to fellow sojourners. She and husband, Ken, spend their days working in ministry and their evenings and weekends raising their final child at home, a fifteen-year-old son.