Silver Linings

[Joseph said] “You planned something bad for me, but God produced something good from it, in order to save the lives of many people, just as he’s doing today.” Genesis 50:20

We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

The saying goes that “every cloud has a silver lining.” Even when things are gloomy and overcast, we can find something good or joyful in the midst of it. This is the sort of worldview that lets a person take a look at trouble and find some good part, some blessing in the midst of it.

Some people seem to have a real knack for finding the silver lining. They see the “road closed” sign as an opportunity to try a new route. They see the breakup as a chance to start fresh. They see the failure as a learning moment. It seems like there are some people who just do this by nature.

It takes practice for the rest of us to see silver linings, though. We have to look and look until we find them. It’s not just practice that we need, though. To find a silver lining, we need hope and trust that it will be there when we search. As Christians, we trust that God is at work in our world, bringing us what we need– including the silver linings that give us strength to keep going.

Now, you and I both know that you can’t have a silver lining without a cloud. Let’s not pretend that there are no clouds these days. This isn’t a Pollyanna-style optimism that pretends the hard parts aren’t there. In fact, it’s only when we’re in the cloud that we can see the silver lining. That’s what makes our hope and trust in God so important. When we trust that God is with us in the clouds, we can look for silver linings with hope.

In Genesis, Joseph managed to find silver linings galore. To sum up, he had been beat up by his brothers, left for dead, sold as a slave, imprisoned under false accusations, and then it all changed when he was raised to a position of great power, second only to Pharaoh. He saved Egypt and Israel from famine. Even though decades had passed since the betrayal, Joseph’s brothers worried he would want revenge. Joseph assured them that he saw how God had done good with the bad situation. He was a silver linings expert.

So what are the silver linings you’ve seen lately? Where do your hope, trust, and perspective come together to show you the blessings of this time of quarantine?

For instance, being at home might be giving you more time for a hobby or with family. Seeing essential employees going to work might give you a deeper appreciation for how many people you depend on every day. Being away from our church building might be giving you a deeper appreciation of gathering together in person. Whatever the silver lining might be, it’s there if you look.

God who works all things for good, give me faith and hope to see your work in the midst of bad times. Show me the silver linings of these days. Amen.

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