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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Fruit (10/10/05)

TITLE: Bring the Lemons
By Lauren Schamaun


You shake your head, your face screws up, you squint your eyes, your lips pucker. You could have the face of an angel, but once the bitterness of a lemon hits your taste buds, you more closely resemble the most unattractive of demons. Bitterness of the soul is even more ugly.

At some point in our lives, we will all be handed a few lemons. You get diagnosed with a chronic illness. Your spouse says something insensitive. Your parked car gets totaled. Your pets use your brand new carpet as a litter box. Whether or not we get lemons is not for us to decide. What we can control is what we do with them. We can make lemonade or we can suck.

The Israelites were suck-ers. Nearly immediately after being set free from captivity, they got their first lemon. They traveled three long, thirsty days in the desert before they arrived in Marah and found water. As the first rumblings of the water up ahead made their way through the crowds, adults and kids alike must have run to fill their canteens with a renewed energy, hooting and hollering and praising God. Of course the God who had parted the Red Sea was capable of quenching their thirst.

But then they bent down to drink and their lips puckered. The water was bitter. They were not going to let this one go. They had tried for three days to let Moses persuade them to be faithful, but now, instead, they grabbed this lemon and sucked hard. They wore Moses down with their grumbling and complaining. “Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.”(Exodus 15:25 NIV)

Even Moses had probably been disappointed to find that the water was bitter, but he had seen God do too many miracles to be a suck-er. So instead of screwing up his face with puckered lips like the rest of them, he took his lemon to God and let God make lemonade.

It is so easy for me to be critical of the Israelites. They had just survived countless plagues that befell the rebellious Egyptians, they had been freed from generations of slavery and to top it off, they had witnessed one of the most amazing displays of God’s power of all time: the parting of the Red Sea. I like to think that if I had been there I would have been Suzy Faithful and encouraged my fellow Israelites to keep the hope that God would give us the water that we so desperately needed.

But the reality is that it doesn’t even take something as drastic as three days in the desert without water for my lips to pucker. I can get bitter so quickly when I can’t do something that I want to do because I’m not feeling well or when my husband doesn’t anticipate my every need and help take care of the baby at just the right time. Sadly, my immediate response to the lemons in my life is just like the Israelites…I suck. I know that the bitterness that wells up inside of me is so ugly. I know that the righteous response to challenges is to take them to God. I even know how horrible the lemon will taste, but still, I suck.

God must look at me and laugh when he sees me with the lemon wedge sticking out of my scrunched up face. He doesn’t intend for the lemons to make me bitter. His hope is that they’ll bring me closer to Him.

It’s so beautifully simple how lemon juice can go from bitter unpleasantry to thirst-quenching refreshment with just a little sugar and water. The bitterness in our lives can be transformed just as easily. God’s waiting with a pitcher full of ice-cold sugar water. He’s just waiting for me to bring the lemons.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Yolanda Baker10/17/05
awesome message here and well writen as far as I can tell.great job and keep it up!
Garnet Miller 10/19/05
Very nice article. I do this too. And, God is always waiting in my prayer closet with the sweet water of forgiveness and refreshment!
Daniele Moskal10/19/05
An excellent well-written article which I very much enjoyed. It definitely deserves an award!!
God bless love from JOHN3-34 Evangelist
Deborah Porter 10/24/05
Lauren, congratulations on your Highly Commended Level 1 Award. But that only tells a part of the story. You were also very close to making it into the Editors' Choice. Your entry ranked 10th overall (out of 135 entries). So be encouraged and well done!

Feel free to move up to Level 2 if you want to. with love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Karen Treharne10/27/05
Very well written, Lauren. Great analogy with a timely message. I identify myself with you and the Israelites. I also suck when faced with lemons. Thank you for reminding me to be grateful with all things He provides. This winning piece has been a blessing to me and others. Congratulations.