Can Things that are Bitter Make Us Better?

Elijah with Lime

We all know what it feels like to suck on a raw lemon. The facial expressions can be pretty funny. For some reason, Elijah used to love eating raw lemons and limes. I think he liked to prove how tough he was. But watching him was always good for a laugh and some memorable pictures.

Why do lemons taste so bitter? More importantly, can things that are bitter make us better? Outside of our bodies, lemon juice is very acidic. Normally things that are acidic are bad for our bodies. Our cell structures break down and are damaged in an overly acidic environment. That’s why it’s important for us to maintain a pH level that tends more towards being alkaline rather than acidic.

But lemon juice, despite tasting terribly bitter, is transformed by our bodies from acid to alkaline. The lemon juice that makes us pucker is one of the best things we can digest to help maintain a healthy pH level that is more alkaline.

It probably seems strange that some of the things we find bitter can actually make us better. That’s true for our bodies, but it’s also true for our souls. Life is full of bitter troubles. Not many of us welcome that bitterness directly, but God promises to transform our bitter troubles into restored health.

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.” (Psalm 71:20).

But here is the catch:  just as lemon juice must be consumed to be transformed from bitter acid to healthy alkaline, so must our bitter troubles be embraced before God can use them to restore us to health.  That bitterness can be caused by the loss of something or someone we love. It can be caused by a personal challenge at work or with friends and family. Perhaps your bitter struggle is a prolonged battle over a health issue. For our family, the loss of Elijah was the start of many bitter troubles that have affected our finances, our health and our relationships.

Every one of these troubles tastes bitter to our souls. But once embraced, God will use those troubles to make us stronger and healthier. The old saying really is true. If life gives you lemons, don’t throw them away. Make some lemonade.

The bitterness will lead to ‘betterness’.


Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post as you find it helpful and inspiring. Thank you.

-Ken Buchanan

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    • Sonia Mertes on April 13, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Dear family,

    I am so sorry for you loss. And I know exactly what you are feeling as we also lost our 19 year old son Luke very tragically and unexpected on October 22nd, 2014. I am sorry I don’t have Facebook or anything like that, just an email address. I am praying that if we are meant to share our grief together, that God will make this happen. We recently attended a Lake Retreat near Crosslake MN for parents who lost a child and I would recommended to you: Please email me if you are interested in meeting. I am sure by now you know that you are not alone. When we walk with the Lord we are never alone, at times it sure seems like we are alone in our pain, but God Almighty uses that very pain to show HIS power and grace! I look forward in hearing from you.

    Sonia Mertes

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