Sometimes you’re late and sometimes you’re early. Being early can be an advantage.

Several weeks ago, I hurried to a meeting, thinking I was late. I arrived about 10 minutes after the announced meeting time, but no one was around. Finally, it occurred to me to check the meeting notice.

I was a week early. But at least I knew how to find the meeting location. And how long it would take to get there.

A friend said I was good at turning a bad situation into something positive. The old saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I think it’s even better to make lemon pie.

It occurred to me that’s what God does for us.

As Paul wrote, “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, ESV).

Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused of sexual assault, thrown into prison and forgotten. But God turned Joseph’s terrible situation into good and used him to save his entire family from a famine.

Esther lived in exile and was forced into the king’s harem, where she became queen. When all the Jewish people in the kingdom were threatened through Haman’s evil plot, she was in the right place to save them. Her guardian Mordecai pointed out, “Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14, ESV).

Paul himself suffered beatings and imprisonment but in several instances, the threats against him resulted in him going to another city to spread the gospel. God used his afflictions to allow more people to hear about salvation through Jesus Christ.

In each of these cases, the individual remained faithful. God works situations for good “for those who love [Him].” We may have to endure the pain–Paul certainly did–and we may not see the end result in our lifetime. But we can take comfort and strength in knowing that He will work in our circumstances for His glory.

How have you seen God make lemon pie out of lemons? Or are you dealing with lemons now and trusting that He will use your situation for good?