Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. –Proverbs 3:5-6
Twentieth century theologian and philosopher Reinhold Niebuhr penned the following prayer, now commonly referred to as “The Serenity Prayer.” It reads:
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.
Most people are familiar with the first four lines of this prayer as it has been made into wall hangings, bookmarks, prayer cards, and other Christian resources. However, most are unfamiliar with the second stanza, which seems to carry the fuller meaning of the prayer. In a hurried world in which we keep a breathless pace, it feels almost sinful to stop and rest. Every day advertisers plead with us to purchase “security” for our futures. Investors encourage us to plan for our retirement and our children’s education. Every day, thousands of hardworking employees are “downsized” or let go, resulting in chaos, instability, and loss of confidence. How then are we to experience this type of “serenity” when our world seems out of control? Psalm 46:10 reads, “Be still and know that I am God.”
A popular bumper sticker says it this way, “I know God and you ain’t Him!” So often we attempt to orchestrate our lives in such a way that there is no room for God to interrupt with His own plans. When we follow this prayer, we create some margin, some sacred space for God to penetrate our over-scheduled, busy, restless lives. As you look over your calendar today, is there room for God to “interrupt”? The Scriptures declare, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
1. What can I cut from my schedule today to allow for God to interrupt?
2. Am I open to the sacred interruptions God brings my way?