By Chris WittsThursday 10 May 2018Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotionsReading Time: 5 minutes
My friend Brian Stewart has a regular column in a local newspaper, which makes for very interesting reading. Brian is a retired minister who has a way of putting words. It makes you think. He also has been heard on this radio station.
In one edition, I noticed his headline, “If life hands you a lemon, take it and make lemonade”. It’s not new, I’ve heard that before. But it made me think. Brian took the motivational speaker Zig Zigglar’s quote and said life is 20% about what happens to us and 80% about the way we respond to what happens to us.
The people who consistently discover the greatest joy in life are those who refuse to be discouraged by their circumstances. There are many examples of this:
- American chemist Charles Goodyear worked on an idea of vulcanising rubber. He was a self-taught chemist and manufacturing engineer. The problem was he was serving a prison sentence having run into money difficulties—this was the mid-1800s.
- Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott was a cripple due to childhood polio, but that didn’t stop his inspiring writing.
Circumstances need not have the final say in our lives. It’s the attitude that makes the difference. Did you know that at any one time 1 in 4 people suffer from stress, anxiety, worry or some level of depression? Stress, anxiety, worry and depression are the top causes for many people seeking medical help. It is a very common problem today. What can we do about it?
Life is Not always Fair
Sometimes life just gives us a bunch of lemons. Things turn sour suddenly and we think, Where did that come from? What do we do when things in our lives are coming up sour? When our plans are thrown off course, and our blue skies turn black, and when our hopes bust like bubbles in our faces?
What do we do when our dreams seem to turn into nightmares?
Many years ago writer A. J. Gordon went to the World’s Fair in the US. From a distance, he saw a man pumping water with one of those old hand pumps. The water was pouring out and he said as he looked, “That man is really pumping water.” But when he got closer, he discovered that it was a wooden man connected to a pump powered by electricity. The man was not pumping the water, the water was pumping him.
I don’t know about you, but there have been many times when I felt the same way. I was not the one doing the pumping, but I was the one being pumped. We often find ourselves controlled by the problems, pressures and perplexities of our life. I’m sure each of us can write down a number of times when this has happened.
Putting Disappointments into Perspective
Did you know that a dense fog extensive enough to cover seven city blocks, 31 metres deep is composed of only one 8-ounce glass of water divided into 60,000 million droplets? Yes, only one 8-ounce glass of water, spread out, can stop the world’s busiest airport in its tracks and it can cause a 70-car pile-up on a major interstate—amazing!
And yet one problem or setback can cause huge problems. Sometimes we get things out of perspective. When life doesn’t go your way, make something out of it. When you are disappointed with the way things are, change them for the better. When something bad happens to you, don’t let it get you down.
As Christians, we see everything through this tri-focal lens:
- we’re made in the image of God,
- we live in a fallen world, and
- we trust in Jesus Christ for redemption.
This helps us understand our disappointments. Obviously, there are varying degrees of disappointment.
Is God showering you with lemons? Are you going through a very sour patch in your life? Maybe you got laid off work, you or a loved one is terminally ill, or someone you loved departed.
When life turned sour, we forgot the sweet, pleasant moments in the past. Bitterness set in. We blame God. We blame ourselves and others. Our focus turns inward. We ask questions like these:
- Why did this happen to me?
- Have I done something wrong?
- Is God punishing me? God is angry!
- What have I done?
God Still is in Control
If you are in a difficult time such as this and seeing no way out of your situation, I want to remind you that God who loves you is still in control. Your only help at this time is to turn to him. Make yourself right with him, if you have wandered far away from his side and have not had fellowship with him for a long time.
Give God yourself including the problematic lemons and he will make more than lemonade out of the lemons in your life. God is not in the business of making the best of it when things don’t go our way.
He doesn’t just sweep in and pick up the pieces after our best-laid plans fall apart. He is always working, even in our disappointments, and using those trials for a greater purpose. So we don’t deal with disappointing circumstances by picking ourselves up by our bootstraps or turning our frown upside down. Rather, we trust in the God who is always working things out for our good. Romans 8:28 says;
“And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans.” (Living Bible)
Life most certainly hands us lemons. But we need more than sweet lemonade to replace the sourness of the circumstantial lemons. Every disappointing day reminds us that this is not our home. When the days don’t go our way, we long for a better life, where there are no more tears, disappointments, sorrows, and suffering. A life where the God who faithfully promised to keep us to the end will wipe every tear of disappointment away forever. And that is way better than even the best lemonade.