And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5, NRSV)
It’s 4th of July weekend! I imagine families celebrating together with barbecues and games in their backyard and lingering over cool drinks. Perhaps there is a pitcher of homemade lemonade in the fridge and a hint of freshly squeezed lemons wafting through the kitchen. Isn’t it remarkable how something so sour can turn into something so sweet and refreshing? Before you run off to start squeezing lemons or measuring out that Country Time powder, pause for a moment. Think about how you may have made lemonade out of the lemons that COVID-19 has put into your fruit basket over these last few months.
Three colorful envelopes made their way into my mailbox over the last several months, all sent by my son and his fiancée to announce their wedding plans. The white envelope arrived in early April, asking us to save November 1st in Charleston, South Carolina. Last week, we received a bright yellow envelope amidst the junk mail, inviting immediate family members to join them in Washington, D.C. on July 25. This week, a tan, bulky envelope arrived, the same one that extended family and friends would receive announcing a change of plans. On the right side of the card was the phrase “Making Lemonade out of Lemons” and a note from the bride and groom. Attached to the left side was a lemon candy slice and a to-go packet of Country Time lemonade. Because of the unknowns of COVID-19, there have been long, hard family conversations. Faced with difficult choices, we made painful decisions. But what has been squeezed out of those lemons for our son and future daughter-in-law is sweet acceptance and renewed anticipation. The lemonade for this mother and father is the growth and maturity we have seen in our son. Years of prayers have been answered. God has truly prepared him to be a husband.
Whatever challenges, pain, and suffering you face, or the decisions you need to make, our compassionate and wise God is with you. God’s word reveals the recipe to finding sweet hope… boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.
Director of Children’s Ministry
For those facing difficult decisions:
All wise and wonderful God, thank you for the sweet hope that you bring out of the challenging times. Help us to never give up or give in to discouragement, but to trust and listen for your voice that leads and guides us to a stronger faith in You. In Jesus name, amen.
Family Activity Suggestions
– Make homemade lemonade.
– The next time your family hits a roadblock around a common issue, whether it be chores or decisions
about what activities to do together for fun, try a worst-possible brainstorm.