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.
Do you know this prayer; have you ever prayed it? This is a prayer rising out of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Most people know the first stanza, however, I believe that the second is the key for it identifies how we are to live. Perhaps the most important is accepting hardships and this sinful world as Jesus did, knowing it as the pathway to peace. It is beyond us individually to do it without the help of a “Higher Power” as the 12-step programs tell us. I don’t know whom you accept as your higher power, but “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). For me the Lord is God in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who lived, died and rose again that our sins might be forgiven, as we trust in Him as Savior and Lord.
“Living one day at a time” is not easy. We seem to be stuck in the past often believing “those were the days” as Archie Bunker said in All in the Family, a once beloved TV serial. Others live in the hope of the future, that it will be better than the past or present. We can’t live in either. We can only live in the present, “making the most of every opportunity, full of grace and seasoned with salt” (Ephesian 5:16). I love this Scripture admonition of living as one forgiven through God’s grace and seasoned with salt or in a spicy way. Salt is a flavor and a preserver. It preserves the life of meat, just as God does for believers. It is a seasoning or a unique and uniquely hope filled living that others might see the “Good News” of it. We can only experience the presence of God in the present moment. We may remember His faithfulness, but we can only live by His power in the present.
I want readers to note a special emphasis to this verse of “enjoying every moment” for this moment is from God. “Every good and perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). Yes, God is in every moment with us. One sage once said, “All things that befall you are first sifted through the hands of God.” We know from Scripture telling us that God is good and that everything He made is good. That does not mean that every circumstance is good, but God knows about it, so live it to the most, enjoying that He will make good of it as Romans 8:28 tells us.
Hardship is the pathway to peace. That is not believable unless you have put your faith in the Messiah, Jesus Christ. It just seems wrong as we try to get out from under and even run from our troubles. But God is in the valley with us as our guide. Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, l for He is with me; His rod and His staff they comfort me.” God is our “Valley Guide” through the time of hardship if we trust in Him. And I believe, using another old maxim that “God won’t give you more than you can handle” is not true unless you trust in Him. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that God is faithful and will provide a way out or through or an escape. Yes, that is wonderful, but only to those who trust in Him. Otherwise you are going to be overwhelmed.
So be reasonably happy in this life for the world is not the way God designed it. We messed it up and allowed pride, arrogance, deceit and darkness to come in and ravage the paradise it once was. God will help you through to joyfulness, as you trust in Him. I don’t think He brings happiness, that is all about our circumstances. I think we can learn to consider “it pure joy” (James 1:2) when we come into trials. He will make us mature and complete, lacking nothing through Christ Jesus.
That is the end of this prayer. Yes, we can be supremely happy in the next world if we trust in Him. Failing that we are nothing John 15 tells us. In fact we will not gain heaven but only the world and the underworld thereafter if we have not put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Do it today, so this wonderful prayer may become your future.