We've all heard the old saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. " You know what it means: Find the good in the bad stuff that comes your way; turn that hardship into something good.
Unfortunately, most of hard times we face in life do not become something sweet as quickly and simply as turning lemons into lemonade and the bright side of losing a loved one is not as easy to find as this saying would suggest.
After two years of crisis, adjusting to life with a special needs infant, and feeling as if I was stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, I had not one, not two, but three 2nd trimester miscarriages within 11 months. Apparently, my body has decided that it will no longer support a pregnancy past 19 weeks.
Screw the lemons. Life gave me shit, and no amount of sugar is going to make that shit seem good. None.
You may have felt the same way in your life's journey. Perhaps you have lost a loved one or have been diagnosed with a serious illness yourself; maybe you are in a very difficult marriage or dealing with serious issues with a child. The truth is that all of us--each and everyone one of us--will have crap in our lives, trials which on this side of heaven have no upside. Trials that unlike lemons, cannot quickly be turned into something wonderful.
That sounds depressing. That sounds hopeless. Crap will happen to us and nothing we or any other person can do will magically make it better. That is the hard truth, but it is not the whole story.
You see, if there's one thing raising chickens has taught me, it's that with time, and given the right conditions, something as disgusting and seemingly meritless as poo becomes not only useful, but incredible helpful as well. In fact, we put it on our gardens to fertilize our plants, and we grow more luscious vegetation, sweeter fruit and bigger, more beautiful flowers than we ever could have gotten without it. Here's where God comes in.
If we will let Him, God will take the shit life gives us and turn it into something that He can use for His purpose. It will force us to grow better and stronger than we were before. It will infuse us with the traits and gifts that God desires to cultivate in us.
Just as it takes time for nature to turn poo into the perfect plant fertilizer, the crap in our lives doesn't necessarily become productive right away. It takes time for us to get to a place where God can use our suffering, and then it takes months, maybe even years before we see the fruits of that suffering in our lives.
Jesus wants to meet us in our suffering. If we will let Him, He can take the crap in our lives and use it to create something beautiful. We may not understand why this side of Heaven, and honestly knowing 'why' probably wouldn't make us feel any better. But maybe, "Why?" Isn't the question we need to focus on. Maybe the question should be, "How?"
"How are you going to use this, Lord?"
"How is this going to work for the benefit of your kingdom?"
"In what way will you redeem this?"
I don't think I'll ever understand why, but I do believe that somehow God will take the s$&@ in our lives and and use it to create something more beautiful then we could have ever dreamed. If we'll let Him use it, our suffering won't go to waste.