You’ve no doubt heard the Serenity Prayer used by Alcoholic’s Anonymous:
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And wisdom to know the difference
What you may not know is that this was written by Reinhold Niebuhr who was an American theologian and commentator on politics and public affairs. He was a professor at Union Theological Seminary for more than 30 years.
These four lines are part of a larger prayer:
Living one day at a timeReinhold Niebuhr
Enjoying one moment at a time
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His will
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next
In 2020, there has been much to cause us to lose serenity (if not sanity). There are many things over which we have no control. The challenge is to find and maintain serenity, or to use a biblical term, peace. We may feel like running away, lashing out, protesting, or dropping out of society. Our problem is that we don’t like hardships. We murmur and complain when the world isn’t the way we think it should be. Our peace comes not from our circumstances, nor from the opinions of others, but from the Lord above.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”John 14:27
I have heard it said that the Lord’s commandments are His enablements. In other words, He will not give us a commandment that He will not give us the power to keep if we trust in Him and ask for His help. Jesus would not have told His disciples to not let their hearts be troubled and to not be afraid unless it were possible to do these things with His peace ruling in their hearts.
When serenity escapes me…when I exchange His peace for my anxiety…I can always point to my own failure to accept hardship as His plan and my pathway to be more like Christ. He accepted hardship, reproach, rejection and death, yet He never let go of the peace that ruled His heart. As long as I am in this body, I will never be fully like Him. But I can learn to surrender more to His will and discover the serenity that comes with knowing that He is sovereign and will make all things right in His time.
Leave a Reply