You’ve heard the proverbial phrase, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”

It’s intent is to encourage us to take the most discouraging moments in life, and find the good in them.

When we study the life of Jesus, we see a man who was betrayed by his friends, misunderstood by those around him, and seemed to have lost everything – Jesus understood disappointment.

Everyday,  students encounter situations at home and at school that leave them feeling broken and discouraged.

Use this lesson to teach students: Never lose heart… God is always with you!

– Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth

Looking for youth ministry curriculum? Check out the…

2024 SUMMER BUNDLE – Save 78% on $450 worth of youth ministry lessons and games for the summer and beyond!



Written by: Tiffany Hollums

Bible: John 16:33

Bottom Line: Never lose heart… God is always with you!



  • Lots of lemons, cut in half
  • 2 Pitchers
  • 2 bags of sugar
  • Styrofoam Cups
  • Bag of ice
  • 2 tables
  • Paper Hearts – one for each student


Divide your group into two teams and have each team line up across the room from two tables.

On each table, place a pitcher, a bowl of lemons, and a bag of sugar for each team.

Choose an adult to be the nominated “lemonade taster”.

Explain: You’ve heard the phrase ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’?

Well, today we are going to do just that!

When I say GO, the first person from each team will run to the table, grab one lemon, and squeeze it into the pitcher as fast as they can, and then run back to their team.

Then, the next person in line will take their turn.

After everyone has taken a turn squeezing lemons, nominate someone to add sugar and ice to your group’s lemonade.

Each team will serve a prepared glass of lemonade to the “lemonade taster” who will judge which team made the best lemonade. 

After the best lemonade is chosen, congratulate the winning team and serve the rest of the lemonade to the students.


Think about one of the best days of your life: What happened?  What made it so great?

Wait for responses.

Okay… now, think about one of the most disappointing days of your life… what happened?

Wait! You don’t have to share with the group because it’s probably not something that you want to relive again.

But, I’d like to share one of my most disappointing memories with you…

Share a story from your teen years in which you were truly disappointed and things didn’t work out how you thought that they would.

Let’s face it, there are just some days that aren’t that great.

Life can be really hard.

And here is something that sometimes Christians don’t talk about much: God knows that life is hard.

God never promised us that this life would be easy, in fact, Jesus told his disciples and us these amazing words…

Read John 16:33.

And if anyone knows how hard this life can be, wouldn’t it be Jesus?

But listen to the amazing hope and promise that He gives to us – He has overcome the world and He has come to give us peace.

And you hear a similar reminder in other parts of the Bible too.

Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”

You start to get the idea that what Jesus is giving us is a peace that is beyond anything that can ever happen in our lives.

Life hands us lemons and Jesus says to just keep your eyes on Him and watch what He does.

Does it mean that everything is “poof… perfect!”?

You just magically get the grade on the test that you wanted… or you make the team?

Not necessarily, but what He does promise us is that if we look above the things of this life, and look to Jesus that we see things differently.

When the world sees chaos, we see peace.

When we should lose hope, we find joy.

It really doesn’t make sense, but it does.

And that is why Paul says in the verse that I just read – Don’t lose heart.

What are some of the reasons that you can think of as Christians that we shouldn’t lose heart?

Write down what the students share.

Not only do we have eternal hope and know that even when this world ends and our bodies die, we will be with Jesus… but even as our bodies get old and the world seems to be falling apart, God is making all things new.

The things that are eternal are beyond what this world sees.

Jesus came into a world filled with darkness and death and despair and turned things upside down.

And that is why we, as Gods people, are the ones that have hope even in the darkest times because we have a hope.

We know that this world is not all that there is.

We know that even though we might be disappointed or beaten down, that God is with us.

It really is all about perspective.

Choosing to see things from God’s point of view.

Choosing to see lemonade, instead of sour lemonade.

Choosing to see the love that God has for us that can’t be stopped.

Not even death.

I want to give each of you a heart to put in your pocket, or to put somewhere that you can see it, to remind you to not lose heart.

In this life, we will have disappointments and hurts.

But, don’t lose heart because you are not alone and God loves you so much.

And the peace and the hope that comes through Jesus is honestly the kind of thing that won’t fade.

No matter what kind of disappointments you may face.

And when the times get tough, you know that there is one you can go to who understands disappointment like no one else: someone who was betrayed by his friends, misunderstood by those around him, and seemed to have lost everything.

Jesus knows disappointment and that is why his words to us should ring so clear…

Read John 16:33.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

So, take heart.

Give each student a paper heart. 

Close in prayer.


  1. Who is someone that you have seen struggle with disappointment and how did they handle it?
  2. What disappointments are you struggling with? Take some time to pray for one another.
  3. Which disappointment that Jesus faced can you identify with the most?
  4. How does it make you feel to know that Jesus had disappointments?
  5. What is the heart that you received tonight going to remind you of?

End lesson.

Looking for youth ministry curriculum? Check out the…

2024 SUMMER BUNDLE – Save 78% on $450 worth of youth ministry lessons and games for the summer and beyond!

If you liked this lesson, then be sure to check out this…

Youth Group Lesson on the Prodigal Son


  1. Kellie Myer
    • May 22, 2018

    Thank you for the free lesson!

    Reply 4 Response
    1. Debbie
      • May 23, 2018

      I Soo appreciate the free lessons you post. Thank you very much.

      Reply 1 Response
    2. Brenda Crockett
      • January 2, 2019

      I really enjoy your free lessons. They are exciting for the youth and makes learning more fun for them.

      Brenda Crockett

    3. Samador Cooper
      • September 7, 2019

      Thanks for these free lesson the really help a lot.

  2. Connie Wooton
    • May 22, 2018

    Thank you for the free lessons!!! My husband and I just started up our youth group in our Church and the lessons I been getting has helped us out so much and the kids love playing the games!! So Thank you again!!

    Reply 1 Response
    1. Kristy Preston
      • May 23, 2018

      Connie, We pray blessings over your new youth group and we are so happy our lessons can be apart of helping you all lead your students and have fun!

  3. Naledi Chitsiku
    • June 26, 2018

    Thank you so much for this lesson, its so insightful and will most definately share it with the youth!

    God bless your heart!

    Reply 1 Response
  4. Natasha Mohan
    • November 30, 2018

    Thank you for your lessons. We have just revived our Youth Group and divided them into age groups. Very age appropriate for our younger ones. Today I am sharing on Disappointment. Lots of topic ideas and I love the ice breaker and the beginning of each lesson.

    Reply 2 Response
    1. Dale
      • May 29, 2020

      This is a great lesson for this year and the disappointments that teens have had endure. Thank you for such an awesome lesson.

      Reply 1 Response
      1. Kate Forkel
        • May 29, 2020

        We’re so glad you were able to use our resources!

  5. Lisa
    • February 24, 2022

    thank you for the Lesson cant wait to share with the youth group


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