Accepting Hardships As The Pathway To Peace
We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love God. Romans 8:28
In Trevor Hudson's book, "The Serenity Prayer a simple prayer to enrich our lives," the author refers to a line from Scott Peck's. "The Road Less Traveled." It is a simple line and it goes like this: Life is difficult. Three simple words and yet loads of truth contained therein. Life can be excruciatingly difficult at times. In fact, it can be hard to see the joy and blessings that God gives to us when those joys and blessings are hidden under a load of worry, illness, financial struggles and despair.
This has been a really tough week for me. I have been physically ill, coughing my head off, feeling weak and wondering why I wasn't getting any better. To say I was discouraged is putting it mildly. I know that people have been praying for me and I am so thankful for those prayers. After encouragement to go back to the doctor today, I feel like there is hope. A different doctor saw me today and immediately honed in on what I needed. I received an in office breathing treatment and was sent home with medicines that should get me going again. And yet, as bad as I have felt this week, I know there are others who struggle with much worse health issues. There are those who struggle with depression, with worries about family and children with the loss of someone they loved....the worries and hurts go on and on. But, even in the midst of challenges and difficulties.....we can know that we are not alone. We NEVER walk alone. As Romans reminds us, God is working for good in all things that happen in our lives.
Two weeks ago, I introduced you to the full text of the Serenity Prayer. The last lines of the prayer are a little more "heavy duty" than the first lines. Here is a reminder:
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the 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.
I don't know about you, but I think that one line is a doozy...accepting hardships as the pathway to peace??? I don't know about you, but I don't like hardships. And I certainly find it difficult, if not near impossible, to accept them. But, I don't think the author of the Serenity Prayer meant that we had to just like everything that happens to it and lump it. We do have the right to try to change things, if we can. We do have the right to take responsibility for trying to help ourselves. No, I think what the author was referring to, is that just as Scott Peck said....life is difficult. Troubles will come. It's inevitable. Sorrow will happen. Surrendering to God's will doesn't mean that we won't ever experience only good things. Bad things will happen too. But....in the midst of the sorrow......God is at work. And God is working for us. God is on our side. We are not alone.
One of the greatest insights that I have discovered from studying the Serenity Prayer, is the line that says, "that I may be reasonably happy in this life." There was a time when I thought that if I didn't feel joy in my heart all the time, there must be something wrong with me. I felt that if I were a true Christian, I should just be happy, happy, happy! But, you know what? Life ain't like that! Sometimes life stinks! And it's OK to admit you feel crappy! It doesn't mean that you don't love and trust the Lord. It means you're human! And God understands that better than we humans do. So, I feel better realizing that "reasonably happy" is something I can handle. The good days and the not so good days. Just like this week.....which has been not so good. But, through it all, I know that God is working for good. And I will be supremely happy with Him forever. Thanks be to God.