Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

Timothy Shay Arthur, 1856

What! can this be true in this dark world of ours, where the thick clouds of sorrow, disappointed hopes, and bereavements are continually hanging over us obscuring even the bright star of hope; where upon every passing breeze is borne deep wailings of woe, bitter sighs ascending from bruised and broken hearts mourning over lost hopes, crushed affections, wasted love, struggling vainly for victory in the fierce battle of life; groping about in darkness to catch, if possible, one gleam of sunlight from the heavy clouds but in vain?

"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust." Another shrine robbed of its idol; another hearth left desolate. See, how the black clouds settle down and press more closely around that lonely widower. Grim Death mocks at his grief from the open grave, so soon to receive his heart's idol. Ay, remove the coffin lid; gaze with all the agonizing bitterness of a 'last' look upon that cold marble face; was anything on earth so lovely? Kiss for the last time the pure forehead. Ah! those pale white lips give back no answering pressure of love; sealed forever by that last chilling blast from the cold river of death.

And now the damp earth presses heavily over that cherished form; far down in the darkness and silence of the grave must the loved one remain never more to cheer by her gentle words of love and kindness, the heart of him who so needed her sympathy and love. Gone, gone forever!

What on earth is now beautiful or bright since the dearest, best treasure is removed? Oh, no! there can be no bright spot in affliction like this; there can be no bright ray to gild this night of sorrow.

Ah! Erring mortal, repine not! The all-wise Father knew your frail heart, saw your whole life and soul bound up in that one creature, weak and sinful like yourself. Are you forgetful of the Creator? Will you dare raise your feeble voice against the Almighty when He removed the idol that He alone may reign? Will you not bow meekly, kiss the rod, and accept the bitter cup of bereavement offered as it is in mercy?

And is this present life all? Is there no life beyond the grave? Is the spirit which held such communion with you, forever quenched?

Can the grave contain forever the immortal part? Look up, oh! mourning one! Your loved one is not here in the grave!

Harken! Don't you hear the soft, heavenly voices, whispering sweetly of a life beyond the dark river, where Death can never come; of glorious mansions where peace and joy are forever more, and of another freed spirit welcomed to the blissful home? Do you not feel upon your tear-moistened cheek gentle wavings of angel wings, perfumed with the breath of heavenly flowers?

Do you think that the happy glorified spirit of your loved one would like to return again to that perishing body of clay?

The sweet star of faith is already rising over your grief. The clouds, all bright and shining with hues caught from heavenly skies, are no longer dark and rayless. And now, even with your lonely bleeding heart can you humbly receive the chastisement from Him who does all things well.

Henceforth will earth seem less dear, Heaven nearer, and more to be desired! Your own cherished companion is there!

Yes, thanks to our merciful Father, every cloud 'has' a silver lining, however dark the side presented to our view, ladened heavy though it be with sorrows and woes, which almost crush the life from our hearts as it presses upon us. Yet there, hidden from our short mortal vision gleams the soft silvery lining, ever gently shining, perhaps never to be revealed in this world, reserved for us to discover after we too have been called from this poor world to our heavenly home, and look back upon our earthly pilgrimage with rejoicings that we have been so safely borne through every trial and temptation.

Ah! then will our sky be without a cloud. All joyous and happy, we will tune our harps anew to the praise of Him who loved us and has given us the victory!