From time to time, I’ll be witnessing to someone by telling them how God had worked something great in my life through a trial I was going through. Invariably the listener will say something like “if God’s all powerful, why didn’t He just cure the cancer?” or “if God’s plan is the perfect plan why did He write cancer into the plan?” or “if God’s all loving, why did He to give you the cancer to begin with?”
There are lots of ways to answer those questions in a straightforward biblical way (you have to be in tune with what they’re ready to hear), but recently this metaphor came to me – not of my own intellect but the Holy spirit working through me, I wanted to jot it down before I forgot it.
You see, I don’t believe it was a part of God’s divine plan for me to get cancer, nor to I believe God gave me cancer. What I do believe is that it was through God’s perfect love and a part of His plan to make lemonade with my lemons. Where did the lemons come from? Well God didn’t give them to me, they came out of the sinful world as a byproduct of our free will.
You see, the devil is out there growing orchards and orchards of lemons that he ships to our grocery stores of free will. They’re such a pretty yellow, shiny, smell refreshing … we don’t want the bitterness that comes with them but somehow they ended up in our shopping cart anyway. Sometimes they come as a free-gift-with-purchase. You put a carton of cigarettes on the checkout counter and the cashier says, “here, you get a free lemon with that.” And you say “oh, okay” and you take it home. Or perhaps it’s a bottle of alcohol or “day after” pill or a pornographic magazine – over time you’re building up quite a bitter collection of lemons. And sometimes, you make a deliberate choice to put the lemons in your cart, thinking, “well they won’t be bitter for me, not this time.” Other times, the devil slips them in your cart while you weren’t looking. You did everything right, you stuck to your shopping list but somehow you got home, unpacked and there they were. You checked the receipt and, yep, you even paid for them. How’d that happen?
Well it happened because we live in a fallen world as a result of our own sin. We all have these big bitter piles of lemons we accumulate from shopping at the Free-Will-Mart and the acid has the potential to erode at our relationships, our potential, our spirituality. But only God has the perfect lemonade recipe. Others may try to give you suggestions and ideas of what to do with those lemons but they will only lead to more lemons. Only God can turn those lemons into a lemonade that refreshes and restores the damage done by the sins of this world. That lemonade is Jesus Christ. If you want recipe, all you have to ask.
What are you doing with your lemons? Is the acid eating away at your successes or have you turned them over to God to make the most divine refreshment you will ever experience?
“You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons.” – 1 Cor 10:21 (NIV)
“I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.” Psalm 116:13