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“GOD, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
It’s called the “Serenity Prayer.” You’ve probably seen it numerous times on a plaque or a refrigerator magnet. It’s actually part of a longer prayer written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. It goes like this:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, 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 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. Amen.
— Reinhold Niebuhr, 1926
We Christians believe that just as Jesus trusted himself to God when he was betrayed and killed, so he stands with us in our suffering. Did you know that Jesus trusts God for us even when we are paralyzed with doubt? Jesus is our Intercessor even when we are so hurt that we wish God would just leave us alone and get out of our lives. Jesus is our Intercessor even when we blame God for what we know he could have stopped from happening, but didn’t. And Jesus is our Intercessor – full of faith on our behalf – even when we are so scared and worried that we’ve hardly thought of God in weeks or months.
The apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 that things got so bad for him that he "despaired of life." But through it all, he learned this: to rely not on himself, but on God who raises the dead — the God who raised Jesus, our Intercessor.
The gospel is good news. It calls us to throw all our cares on the one who loves us, to rest our fear and anxiety in Jesus Christ. In Jesus, we can indeed accept what we cannot change, find the courage to change what we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
I’m Joseph Tkach, speaking of LIFE.