Week 34

And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;  (Isaiah 32:17-18)

Few prayers are prayed more than the Serenity Prayer:  “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.”

Was there ever a time in history when our hearts cried for serenity  and it seemed most unattainable? Daily we are reminded of death and destruction in the streets of the world. Hearts are heavy; we have a sense of disorientation.

For most of our lives, we – Americans – felt exempt from much of the chaos of the world. Indeed, the United States of America has been blessed with prosperity and security, but not without cost. As I write today, America is facing many troubles; we suffer hardship and most of them are the result of bad seed planted and then nurtured. 

We have November 3rd, the day that many consider the fruition of the greatest electoral fraud in our country, if not the world. We have the fruit of protests of January 6th, where scores of men and women are locked up, some awaiting charges, and almost all  suffering neglect of basic human rights. 

America has developed a great affection for quantities of consumer goods, cheap consumer goods provided to us by China. While we were sleeping, the Covid virus entered our shores and killed our friends and family members, no American exempt from loss.

Simultaneously, Americans have lost freedoms to make basic decisions for our families. We gave an inch; they took a mile. 

Heartache and loss in Haiti. A friend of mine from Haiti commented, correctly, that Haiti just cannot get a break.

As I write, perhaps 10’s of thousands of people of all nations are in grave danger in Afghanistan. Many of these tragedies are linked to each other. We can blame the Chinese Communist Party, the man certified to be president of America or and we can blame the Taliban. They are, but pawns, tools of the the one that is the destroyer, the father of all lies. The devil. 

Where is a person to find serenity? Ladies, it is found only in the Scriptures. When I read the verses above recently, I pondered them. Righteousness brings peace. The effect of righteousness is  quietness and assurance forever. The 2nd verse is one off my favorite home verses: And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;    

America has not lived righteously. Yet God promises healing:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Ladies, I cannot control what is happening in the world I live in, but I have great power regarding my own decisions, including the spirit of my home. There has never been a time more important for making peaceful habitations of our homes. We can offer serenity within and without. 

Did you know that the Serenity Prayer is not so old? It was written less than a hundred years ago by a scholar/theologist, Reinhold Neibuhr. One of his students, so the story goes, wrote it in her diary likely because the thoughts encouraged her.

Here is the entire prayer. It is beautiful but upon reflection, I am reminded of my responsibility too “take the sinful world as it is” but also to show them the way to real serenity, as Jesus did. 

God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, 

and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. Living one day at a time, Enjoying one moment at a time,

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, Taking, as Jesus did, This sinful world as it is, Not as I would have it, Trusting that You will make all things right, If I surrender to Your will, So that I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.

The Bible never mentions the word “serenity” but it mentions “peace” many times. Yes; we can write the Serenity Prayer on our walls, but I find this promise far more comforting in times like these. 

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)

Perhaps this might be an encouragement for your wall:

I will be emailing an image of this verse for printing in a few days.

May the God of all comfort encourage you through the reading and preaching of His Word.