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Pathway to Peace

I have never really given much thought to the serenity prayer, other than the “to accept the things I cannot change” part.

The middle of that prayer is:

“Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace”

I guess sometimes it is when we are right in the middle that we make a choice. Sure, we make choices that lead to the circumstance in the middle. Too bad that we don’t choose more appropriately in order to prevent hardships. Let’s face it, most of our trials we inflict on ourselves. It happens because we battle a sinful nature and we end up in the midst of a storm or stuck in the belly of a fish once more. It is in that moment that we sink or swim, curse God or praise Him. It is easy to be thankful when we are smoothly sailing into the sunset. It is not the hardship that brings growth or leads to peace, but instead the way we handle that hardship. Jonah found himself in the belly of the fish. He praised God. He thanked God. It was important enough that he has a whole book about it in the Bible. Jonah could accept his hardship as the pathway to peace because he knew that God loved him and that salvation is in the Lord. He knew peace was on his horizon.

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.

Living one day at a time;
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.

–Reinhold Niebuhr

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