The egg is white enough, though the hen is black as a coal

This is a very simple thing, but it may cheer you up when hard times come.

Out of evil comes good, through the great goodness of God

From threatening clouds we get refreshing showers; in dark mines men find bright jewels: and so from our worst troubles come our best blessings. The bitter cold sweetens the ground, and the rough winds fasten the roots of the old oaks.

God sends us letters of love in envelopes with black borders

Many a time have I plucked sweet fruit from bramble bushes, and taken lovely roses from among prickly thorns. Trouble is to believing men and women like the sweet-brier in our hedges, and where it grows there is a delicious smell all around, if the dew do but fall upon it from above.

Cheer up, mates, all will come right in the end!

The darkest night will turn to a fair morning in due time. Only let us trust in God, and keep our heads above the waves of fear. When our hearts are right with God, everything is right. Let us look for the silver which lines every cloud, and when we do not see it let us believe that it is there.

We are all at school, and our great Teacher writes many a bright lesson on the blackboard of affliction. Scant fare teaches us to live on heavenly bread. Sickness bids us send off for the good Physician. Loss of friends makes Jesus more precious, and even the sinking of our spirits brings us to live more entirely upon God. All things are working together for the good of those who love God, and even death itself will bring them their highest gain. Thus the black hen lays a white egg.

—Charles H. Spurgeon,
Adapted from John Ploughman’s Pictures