As I went to get the mail from the cluster of mailboxes in our housing development, I noticed a few young children busily doing something on the corner. One of the little girls ran over to my car, and I waved. She was an adorable little blue-eyed, blonde girl of about 4 years old. I could see that she wanted my attention, but she was too shy to tell me what she wanted.
I drove up to the corner, and, lo and behold, it was what I suspected, a lemonade stand. I always try to support such entrepreneurial efforts.
The kids used all the effective marketing techniques I learned in my marketing class in college. They moved their stand to the corner near activity, (location, location, location). They had a colorful sign (great advertising). Their outward appearance was adorable, and they even had a nice display of fresh lemons. They priced their cups with psychological pricing, an odd number just below an even number, to make the customer think their wares are a bargain.
They ranged from ages 4 through 7. I asked them if a parent was with them, and one of the boys said, “My dad is in the house.” I gave them my money, and they excitedly went to work. They had a juicer and cups, but something was missing — water, sugar, and adult supervision. They handed me a cup of a squeezed lemon. I told them to keep the money, but they needed to tweak their recipe just a bit.
Well, you know the old saying, when life gives you lemons, turn them into lemonade. I thought about that saying. The display of lemons was beautiful. We are very blessed in Arizona to have such beautiful lemons. They are bright yellow; they grow to be very large and juicy. However, you cannot eat them alone. They must be mixed with something to enhance their flavor.
The lemons in our lives could take the form of the:
- interview that didn’t materialize into a job offering
- closed door to a major in education that YOU want
- promotion that was given to someone else when you thought it should be given to you
Well, I have experienced all of these lemons. The lemonade came when I found out the company for which I interviewed eventually had financial struggles, and I was better off staying where I worked at the time. I thought of pursuing a different field for my master’s, and the door swiftly closed, while another quickly opened. In hindsight, the door that opened was the right path for me and has trained me to be successful in many wonderful job opportunities. The promotion would have provided me with many distractions that would not enhance my spiritual life.
So, even though I was disappointed when these things didn’t work out, I always took comfort in the fact that God sees the bigger picture. He knows what is best. I have to trust in Him and surrender my will to His.
I have always relied on Jeremiah 29:11 when seeking God’s will, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
God ultimately wants the best for us. When things don’t go as planned, and we receive a cup of “squeezed lemons,” rest assured there is a reason. Find the good in the circumstance because the outcome may eventually turn into the delicious lemonade intended to refresh us, an end that is better than anything we could have expected.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.