When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. This popular life principle was originally coined by Christian writer Elbert Hubbard in a 1915 obituary he penned and published for actor Marshall Pinckney Wilder. The obituary, entitled The King of Jesters, praises Wilder’s optimistic attitude and achievements in the face of his disabilities. It was later popularized by Dale Carnegie who used it in his 1948 book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. The simple saying certainly can help us regain perspective when we are thrown a curveball or life presents us with unexpected challenges or obstacles.
Paul demonstrates a similar attitude in Philippians 1:12-20. He has every reason to quit, complain, or grumble. He could have easily cried “Woe is me!” His letter to the Philippians could have gone on and on about how bad the prison food was, how the chains rubbed on his wrists, how horrible it was to be chained to a Roman soldier so despised by the Jews, and so on. Not Paul! He looked at his obstacles as opportunities to share Jesus. He was so committed to the mission and so trusted the sovereign plan of God that he believed to his core that any circumstance was a divine appointment to point others to Jesus.
What if we took a similar approach? Imagine the impact in our world if the people of God complained less and encouraged more. What if we yelled and pointed fingers less and showed the love of Christ more? What if our attitude was one of hope and positivity? I would guess that more people may be intrigued at the source of our joy even in the midst of trial and crisis.
We possess an eternal hope that springs life abundantly. Let’s commit to carrying hope to the world and let it begin with an outlook and attitude that resembles Paul in Philippians. I am confident that if we did, others would ask more questions and we would experience more opportunities to tell the story of Jesus and His love.