Every cloud has a silver lining

Mark McDonald

Mark McDonald, a Methodist minister, has served churches in Northwest Arkansas, Booneville, Jacksonville and Conway. His family settled in Faulkner County in the 1840s. He attended Hendrix College, where he serves as a trustee. He and his wife have six children all living in Central Arkansas.
Mark McDonald

Latest posts by Mark McDonald (see all)

When I was in elementary school, we had an assignment to come up with as many idioms as we could. Immediately, I learned sayings such as, “It’s raining cats and dogs” and “You hit the nail on the head.” Then, someone told me, “Every cloud has a silver lining.” I immediately looked for clouds, and had trouble seeing a silver lining on them. My teacher said, “Did you look for cats and dogs during the rain? These sayings aren’t supposed to be literal; that’s what makes them idioms!” 

As I thought more about that saying, I found it hopeful. At least the saying teaches us to look for the silver lining (good news) when the clouds (bad news) seem to be overshadowing us.

I thought of this recently when someone was complaining about summer getting closer. He was complaining about ticks, chiggers, high temperatures and humidity. While I share some dread for those items, I quickly found myself responding, “Every cloud has a silver lining.” 

For every one of the things we dread about summer, there are things that make summer a truly beautiful season in the 501. The days are longer and the sunshine more plentiful. It’s a joy to sit on the porch or deck (for most of the season) until the sun goes down (which is much later than now). Much fruit is in season, and it is the time of year when it makes the most sense to jump in the water and fish, ski and participate in other water activities. 

Most people know The Byrds’ song “Turn, Turn, Turn.” The words are based on a passage of scripture from Ecclesiastes 3 that teaches us a lesson about the seasons of our life:

There’s a season for everything:

and a time for every matter under the heavens:

a time for giving birth and a time for dying,

a time for planting and a time for uprooting what was planted,

a time for killing and a time for healing, 

a time for tearing down and a time for building up

a time for crying and a time for laughing,

a time for mourning and a time for dancing,

a time for throwing stones and a time for gathering stones,

a time for embracing and a time for avoiding embraces,

a time for searching and a time for losing, 

a time for keeping and a time for throwing away

a time for tearing and a time for repairing, 

a time for keeping silent and a time for speaking,

a time for loving and a time for hating

a time for war and a time for peace. (vv. 1-8, CEB)

While we have four distinct seasons in the 501, this passage reminds us that our lives have seasons, as well. Every season has both clouds and silver linings. Sometimes, our life is filled with new life, growth and excitement. At other times, we face loss, decline and depression. Seasons remind us that nothing is permanent and there is always a silver lining. And more silver linings to come with the next season. 

As we come into this beautiful summer season and find ourselves facing some of the uncomfortable aspects of summer, I hope we can find ourselves with a new understanding of the way that life has a way of balancing our struggles with our joys. I hope that we can see that summer is truly worth celebrating, and even the struggles will fade as we move from one season to another!