I Was Thinking…
In the summer of 1934 a theologian named Reinhold Niebur was vacationing in his summer cottage near Heath, Massachusetts. One Sunday evening Dr. Niebur conducted a worship service at a small church in the area. At the end of the service Dr. Niebur gave a brief closing prayer.
The prayer spoke deeply to one of the members of the congregation and as he greeted Dr. Niebur he asked if he could have a copy. Dr. Niebur reached into his Bible, pulled out a crumpled piece of paper and handed it to him.
On that paper were written these words of prayer: “God give me the serenity to accept what cannot be changed, courage to change what should be changed and the wisdom to distinguish one from the other.”
From that moment forward that prayer seemed to spread everywhere. Someone in the USO heard of the prayer and the result was its usage by the servicemen and women during WWII. The founder of Alcoholics Anonymous discovered the prayer and over time it eventually became the theme prayer for AA.
Across the years I have seen this prayer displayed in countless homes. It is a prayer that is meaningful to people because it speaks to a great need in the human soul. Knowing when to let go, to accept and to trust helps us place life’s experiences into their proper perspective.
When life knocks us backward it is helpful to remember that we’re not alone; God, who loves us more than we can possibly imagine, is with us. God’s powerful love invades our lives and surrounds us. Conversation with such a loving God puts steadiness into our steps and quietness into our souls. The Apostle Paul spoke deep into the human soul when he wrote, “If God is for you, who can be against you?”
Wherever we are, whatever we face, no matter the challenges or the uncertainties, when we include God, we have become strong enough to endure. May we know God’s presence in our lives and experience a peace that is beyond all comprehension.