When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade :: by Grant Phillips

We have all heard this saying, and more people than imaginable have had nothing but sour lemons to suck on for a spell. The smart ones do make lemonade.

People have contacted me over the years, deeply hurting and going through terrible times for one reason or another. All hope is gone. They’re frightened, and some even think life is just too much to deal with anymore. They want a quick fix, but rarely will that be the case. So what do we do to make lemonade?

Let me say this first. Whether you’re a Christian or not a Christian, suicide is not an option.

I have been asked if a Christian will go to Heaven if he/she commits suicide. Suicide is a sin, and Jesus paid for all our sins. When He saved us, He gave us His righteousness and made us a child of the Kingdom of God. It’s called being born again. (John 3:7) He has guaranteed by His Spirit that we will always belong to Him and He will never lose any of us who are His. (John 10:27-30) Therefore, yes, a Christian would go to Heaven, but that is not the right decision to make, and it is not our decision to make.

God created life and gave us all physical life. For those who come to Him by Jesus Christ, he gives us eternal life. Even though we would retain our gift of eternal life, our earthly life is too precious a gift from our Creator to think so little of it.

It’s the coward’s way out. When we think so little of His gift of life and think so little of His power to take care of us, this action would be like spitting in God’s face. It breaks the hearts of loved ones. Think of the stigma it places on the family. It stops any potential we have for being a lighthouse for our Lord.

Another thing to consider is for the people who take this route, are they truly a Christian? Yes, a Christian could commit suicide. For example, they may have had a head injury and suicidal problems arise. But what if they think they’re a Christian and are not? What a horrible thought to commit suicide, thinking, “I’ll just get out of this and go to Heaven,” but actually go to hell.

This is not the way to make lemonade. This is the way to allow the lemons to rot, and now you have nothing but rotten, sour lemons.

Very few of us have gone through life without problems. Actually, I may be wrong. Perhaps none of us have avoided problems. One thing is certain, if you live long enough, you will have problems.

The thing with problems is that we don’t all have the same problems, and we all don’t have them to the same degree. Let me give an example. With one person, their life may have been turned upside down from their children being in a gang, while another may have spousal problems, and even another may have financial problems. Even with these examples, some may have the same problems, but they may be more severe with one person and not very severe with another person. Regardless, at least most of us do eventually go through the “Job” experience.

I think it’s time, praying that it will help someone, for me to relay some of the problems I’ve been through.

I’m conversing with a gentleman at present who has gone through divorce, lost his family, and is about to lose his home. He has lost a lot of weight, and unfortunately, is drinking. About thirty years ago I went through the same thing, except I didn’t drink or turn to drugs. I went through a long belt-tightening period of abject misery. It seemed there was no hope whatsoever.

Now I don’t know about the gentleman I am conversing with, but none of this was of my own doing. It just happened, and I had to deal with it. I learned a lot of lessons from this experience, one being, other than God and your family; you’re on your own. I had been in church my whole life, had pastored for several years, but quickly discovered that since I had gone through a divorce I was treated like a dog with the mange, and trust me, I’m being kind.

I thank God that I was raised in a Christian home and always studied my Bible from a young age. Now I’m not saying I was “Little Lord Fauntleroy” growing up. I was just a typical boy and no one special as a man. But I did have the background to know that God would be my true source for guidance in trying times, at any time for that matter. I always took my problems, and there were many, to my Father in Heaven.

I went through years wondering if the sun would ever shine again in my life. The valley just seemed too dark on many occasions to have much hope. A lot of tears fell, a lot of sleepless nights were mine, but I just knew that eventually the sun would move the clouds out of my life and shine again. I would feel the warmth of it on my back and be able to smile again.

For a long time bitterness was in my heart. I would rock back and forth trusting God and “doing it my way.” Finally one day I got on my knees and just asked Him to take over, and I meant it. From that day forward, nearly thirty years ago, the sun started peeking through the clouds, then slowly shining full force. He, God, has rebuilt everything that was lost and made it even better than it was before.

I am a living example, as are thousands of other Christians, that God will see you through your problems, if you will let Him. It won’t always be easy, and it may take a while, but it will work out if you let God handle your life. Just trust Him. If life has given you lemons, let God make you lemonade.

Grant Phillips