In The Serenity Prayer column each month we’re studying this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today. These columns will be published the first Friday of each month in 2019.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.
Hardships are simply a part of life. We can’t avoid them but many of us have found a way to numb ourselves through them. This pretty much defeats the learning purpose they can provide for us.
Some people don’t believe that God uses hardships. All through the Bible God allowed trials to help people grow. Whatever the end result, God uses difficult situations for our good and for His glory.
Does this mean that God causes bad things to happen? No. Satan, who rules the kingdom of earth, is allowed to bring difficult situations in our life, but only after permission is given by God, the Father. The biblical story of Job is evidence of this. At the end of his life God blessed Job with 10 times more than what he lost.
Whatever the source of our hardship, it’s up to us to accept them. Accepting a hardship isn’t an easy task. The are many emotions involved when we’re struggling through a situation. If we look to Paul and see how he handled his “thorn in the flesh” we can be encouraged.
“Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations… At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (MSG)
God cares more about our character than our comfort. He wants us to be molded into the image of Jesus Christ, no matter what it takes. The more stubborn and willful we are, the more prideful and self-pitying we are, the longer it may take. How many times must we go around the same mountain?
Submission to the circumstances can bring about peace. Just like the earlier portion of The Serenity Prayer states, we must come to a place of accepting the things we cannot change. Not accepting them doesn’t change them, but it can and will change us into a miserable person to live with.
Peace is a promise of Christ. Let’s be determined not to let life trouble our hearts and turn us into miserable people. When we look to Jesus in times of struggle and heartache He will give us the peace that passes all understanding!