I always considered myself an optimistic person. When I was young, my brother had a little figure with the inscription, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I liked that, and adopted this philosophy. I had no theology to describe God’s sovereignty and care, and no real eternal perspective, but the Lord did give me a childlike faith that somehow, whatever happened, it would all turn out ok.
But then I grew up and realized that the lemons life often brings us were NOT pretty yellow, juicy lemons served up with a side of sugar. What about losing a loved one? Or when life just doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped? What about the possibility of cancer, broken relationships, financial devastation and very real tragedies? Trials and suffering are very real, and we can be tempted to fear them in our life – rather than to hope; looking at the future with concern, not joy or laughter.
So how do we see life as it really is, and yet laugh at the time to come? How do we look at the future with godly optimism and joy, excited about what God has ahead for us, and even for the good he has planned for us in the trials?
In order to become women who laugh at the time to come we must cultivate faith. And “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)
We must know and meditate on who God is through His word. When we meditate on who God is and His record of faithfulness, we are inclined to trust Him more. Psalms 77:11 says “ I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.” And we see throughout the Psalms that as the Psalmist meditates on the goodness of the Lord, hope is restored.
The story of God providing manna to his people in the wilderness is one example which we can meditate on to know the character of God and His care for His people (Exodus 16). God provided the daily food in the wilderness to His people who would otherwise have no hope of salvation. This story reminds us that we have a loving God who cares, provides and delivers. The manna story also points us to God’s greatest gift to us –the bread of life – Jesus Christ, who supplies us with all that we need for life and salvation. He sees our plight and cares deeply! He provides for our deepest soul needs, and He delivers us from death to life.
This truth speaks such hope for our future! We are so well cared for! Rom 8:32 says “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
As we meditate on these things, and cultivate a heart of thankfulness for the gospel and it’s daily work in our life – we will become more full of faith. We will trust, and therefore rejoice at what he has for us instead of fear it.
Yet sometimes we hear, and still do not believe… O me of little faith! But there is hope for us! We can cry out for the Holy Spirit to give us faith – and he will answer! Though I can cultivate a heart of thankfulness and meditate on the goodness of God, I am not the author of my own faith. Faith is not of ourselves it is a gift of God (Eph 2:8); Jesus is the founder and perfecter of our faith. (Heb 12:2) The Holy Spirit gives us the fruit of faithfulness. (Gal 5:22) We must ask for it.
We have examples of some people who cried out for the Lord to give them faith. In Mark 9:24 a father comes to Jesus asking to heal his son of demon possession. Jesus says. “All things are possible for one who believes” and the father cries out “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!“ In Luke 17:5 the disciples cry out to Jesus, “Lord, increase our faith!” These stories have encouraged me to cry out for greater faith and the Lord has been answering!
Prayer for faith, with meditation on who God is, is a great recipe for ‘lemonade’! Through Christ we can laugh at the time to come, whatever challenges we may face in this world!
Philippians 4:4-8 sums up how we can be women who rejoice as we look to the future.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. “
As we continue to meditate on the goodness and faithfulness of God, we can look to the future with joy as we trust our loving heavenly father. We can laugh at the days to come!