When Life Hands You Lemons (Really?!)

by Claire Vorster on April 14, 2012

“You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.” Armir, age 9

I imagine many a kid would agree that there is wisdom in this. And I have tried to hide teeny, tiny, almost microscopic pieces of mushroom in a Bolognese sauce thinking my kids would never find them.  They found them, every last finely chopped piece of them. Some things are just too difficult to swallow.

From a distance this all looks kind of funny – across the planet kids are trying to dream up covert ways to hide their broccoli while their parents are trying to find ever more ingenious ways to make offending but good for you food items easier to swallow.  The fact is that doing anything, just because it could do you some good has never been particularly appealing. New Year’s Resolutions anyone?

When you are going through an experience that is difficult or painful to accept, you may have come across one of those famous, well-meant phrases that neatly sum up the philosophy of ‘just eat it, it’ll do you good.’  How about ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’, or ‘when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.’ Really?!

Difficult and painful experiences, however we choose to disguise them, are just that – difficult and painful.  And although we may walk away from them healthier and stronger in the end, the trials we endure can be a bitter pill to swallow some days.

When you are joyful, be joyful; when you are sad, be sad. If God has given you a sweet cup, don’t make it bitter; and if He has given you a bitter cup, don’t try and make it sweet; take things as they come.  Shade of His Hand, Oswald Chambers

You know what the shortest verse in the Bible is?

“Jesus wept.” John 11 v35

Standing at the tomb of His good friend Lazarus, Jesus wept.  Even though Jesus knew with Kingdom certainty that Lazarus was going to walk out of his tightly wrapped grave clothes that very day, He took the bitter cup of that moment and drank it down.  And only as that bitterness went to work, death bowed low to life and the cup became sweet.

‘Take a look at some of the things that cause despair. There is despair which has no delight, no limits whatsoever, and no hope of anything brighter. But the delight of despair comes when “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells . . .” (Romans 7:18 ). God can do nothing for me until I recognize the limits of what is humanly possible, allowing Him to do the impossible.” Oswald Chambers

What if we stopped trying to sugar coat or hide the bitter pills we have no choice but to swallow?  Our health or body issues, our complicated relationships, the failures, disappointments and every day battles. What if we recognized them for what they are, signs that we have reached the limit of what is humanly possible.

“There have been many times in my own life where I have struggled with circumstances and have not had any pat answers or quick solutions to my problems. But when all else fails, His love never fails.” from 365promises.com

The delight of despair, the death that bows low to life begins right here. And only then does the cup becomes sweet.

He believes in you.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane April 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Wow! Intense. Deep. Only one who knows can write such words.

He believes in you, Claire!


inluvwithwords April 14, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Hi Claire, nice to meet you! I clicked over from Funds for Writers this morning, and I’m enjoying the uplifting tone of your blog. So glad to have found it. I look forward to checking in often =)


Wanda April 19, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Beautiful Claire! I love your vivid word pictures. Yes, sometimes life is just hard. Thank you for reminding us all that we are not to depend upon our own strength to endure in those times. God sees. God knows our needs. God calls us to Himself. God loves.


Jean | Delightful Repast April 20, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Or as I sometimes say, Sometimes a lemon is just a lemon and that’s okay! I love your way with words, Claire. Your opening reminded me, I did a post recently about sneaking a vegetable past your picky eater, with a recipe for macaroni and cheese with cauliflower. Your post reminded me of why I didn’t want to just puree the cauliflower and hide it completely – because the picky eater needs ultimately to know that it’s there and recognize and appreciate it for what it is.


Claire Vorster April 21, 2012 at 2:55 am

And now I understand why God does not try to artificially sweeten or obscure the things He allows in our lives that help us to grow :) Thanks Jean x


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