Editorial: Beyond the Clouds
by Kevin Sims
Beyond the Clouds
Most well-known phrases or sayings make good sense. ‘Look before you leap,’ is wise advice, as is, ‘It’s too late shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.’ It seems that many hands make light work although, on the other, erm, hand, too many cooks spoil the broth. Does this show that electricians of a feather stick together?
Anyway, one phrase that I really don’t get is, ‘Every cloud has a silver lining.’ What absolute nonsense! For starters, real clouds definitely don’t have silver linings. I can say this as someone who has been on a plane that flew into some clouds – there was no silver to be seen, just an all-enveloping, damp greyness. Metaphorically it doesn’t work for me either. There are some bad things that don’t seem to have a flip side. No fairy stories. No happily ever after.
I offer no apologies for the fact that a few of the articles in this issue of All the World make for uncomfortable reading. Human trafficking is not a light matter – it’s an evil that’s growing at an alarming rate. Try telling a woman who’s been tricked into slavery that there’s a silver lining to her cloud. Equally, the relatives of the Madrid train bombing victims would be hard-pressed to see the good that came out of that tragedy.
As Christians, we can be guilty of needing silver linings to make us feel good about ourselves. We can forget that, as the apostle Paul said, we ‘see but a poor reflection as in a mirror’ (1 Corinthians 13:12, New International Version). Sometimes things will happen that we don’t like and don’t understand. We can end up clutching at straws, trying to find something positive that may not be there.
Rather than hunting for silver linings, I’ll go for something more proactive, like ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way.’
The Salvation Army has seen the effects of sexual trafficking and is trying to cut the trade off at its root, through poverty alleviation. In Madrid, Salvationists couldn’t bring back lost relatives but they were able to provide blankets, refreshments and, most important of all, caring compassion. In Mozambique, a community that was washed away by floods is now actually in a much better position than before the tragedy.
All these things and more are being done in the name of Jesus, God’s Son. They aren’t silver linings to clouds, they’re more like golden sunshine, evaporating the clouds before they can envelop some other poor victims.
After all, why curse the clouds when you can let the Son shine?