(Every cloud has a silver lining – John Milton)
Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
(II Corinthians 1:9)
My boss Frank called at 6:00 am. Slurring his words, he told me he couldn’t teach the computer class our client so desperately needed. He’d been out all night partying. “You’ll have to teach it,” he said.
“But I’ve never taught the class before, Frank,” I strongly protested. Frank mumbled something and hung up.
Placing the phone down, reality swept through my still groggy mind. This was an impossible situation. I was gripped with a wave of panic. I could either crawl back in bed and quit my only source of income, or teach a three day class covering subjects I barely knew.
Though my chances of success were very slim. I had to try and teach it. My wife and four kids were depending on me.
Later, riding the elevator to the class room on the tenth floor, I prayed. “Lord, you have to do this. I’ll do what I can and open my mouth, but please teach this class through me.”
During every break, I crammed to prepare for the next segment. I kept my Bible opened to the Psalms, jotting down prayers for guidance.
Three days later the class was over. By God’s grace, no one knew it was my first time teaching it. And amazingly, the marks were good on the evaluation sheets the 23 students had to fill out. God taught this class through me and He was the only reason it was successful.
Month’s earlier, I prayed for God to help me trust Him more. Looking back, I think this was his answer. The only way I could learn to not rely on me, was to be placed in a situation I couldn’t handle. I learned more about trusting God in those few days than I had in years before.
Paul wrote, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
“Good” is not just smooth circumstances and good feelings. True “good,” eternal “good” is wrapped up in our nearness and dependence upon God.
Paul was in such dire circumstances in Asia that he despaired even of life. But he saw the “silver lining”. He knew there was a deeper good in his very hard circumstances. “Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” The very difficult circumstances kept Paul trusting in the Lord and not in himself.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
A most important lesson we all need to learn is that “good” does not always mean easy. What is truly “good” is what draws us closer to God.
Our ability to find a silver lining (a reason for hope) in each and every situation is directly proportional to our belief that being with God and depending on Him is our ultimate good.
Lord, I’m so sorry for the times I have longed only for smooth, easy circumstances. I’m learning to experience the joy of your presence in all circumstances. Please teach me to long only for you. You are my life.
Challenge: What hard circumstance are you facing? If you haven’t already, surrender it completely to God. Ask him to use it for your good by deepening your awareness and dependence upon Him.
 Romans 8:28
 2 Corinthians 1:8
 Originally from a John Milton poem referring to light bursting through a cloud, yielding the phrase “every cloud has a silver lining”
 2 Corinthians 1:9
 Psalms 73:28