“If the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead.”

art by Sr Grace Remington

Did you know that lemons are the unnatural result of crossbreeding a citron and a bitter orange?

Meaning, life never gave us lemons. We created them all by ourselves. 

I think there is powerful symbolism in that.

Adam and Eve created a bitter experience by choosing to eat the fruit… the Lord telling Eve, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children” (Moses 4:22).

I can’t imagine how she felt. Coming out of the garden, still new to the concept of pain itself. 

Then her body started to change.

New, intense pains without having the comfort of other women who have gone before you to empathize with or to get advice from. 

It would be terrifying. It would be the most painful experience she’d ever gone through physically. It would feel like she was dying. Surely, a bitter experience. 

But what you hear from Eve in the scriptures on the subject is fierce pride and intense joy. She rejoices in her ability to create like God does as she proclaims: “I have gotten a man from the Lord” (Genesis 4:1).

By tasting the bitter, Eve was able to prize the good (Moses 6:55).

Not every post-Fall experience has such an immediate reward. Death, heartbreak, illness, sin, pain—these are all the effects of the bitter experience created by the Fall. And I don’t think that means Adam and Eve or any of us should always put on a smile and act happy in those difficult, lonely, heartrending moments. 

As Elder Holland said, “If the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead.”

We can still choose to turn toward the Savior daily with our bitter experience, knowing He will eventually make all our life’s lemons into lemonade.

He makes bitter things sweet. That is a promise. He did it in the Garden, then He did it for Eve after.

And thankfully, He can do it in our lives as well.

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