Surrender to Serenity by Nancy Eckels

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
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.

No matter who you are… trust God
No matter how you feel… trust God
No matter what people do… trust God
No matter what happens… trust God
No matter where you are… trust God
– Daily themes from Group Publishings Sky VBS 2012

Most people think of peace as a state of Nothing Bad Happening, or Nothing Much Happening. Yet if peace is to overtake us and make us the gift of serenity and well-being, it will have to be the state of Something Good Happening.
-E.B. White, 10 Steps to Peace

Galations 5:22-25 (The Message)
But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard – things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good – crucified. Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives.

Serenity, or peace as we have called it, comes as a gift from God. We cannot manufacture it. We will not find it outside of a real, genuine, and growing relationship with God. The message of the Bible is unmistakably clear: There is a God. This God is totally good, totally love, and totally competent. God has come to us in Jesus Christ, whom we can totally trust. When we turn to this God with open hands and ask for serenity, the gift of peace will be given to us. This does not mean that our lives will instantly be filled with a deep, inner peace. Nor does it mean that we need do nothing from here onward. When we pray the Serenity Prayer, the gift of peace comes as a seed, planted in our hearts. It still needs to be nurtured. At the very least, this will require us to face the different sources of unpeace in and around our lives, changing the way we think and live, and working for peace in the practical realities of our daily living. There is no lasting peace without effort. But when we do what we need to do, like a seed hidden in the soil, the gift of peace begins to germinate silently and then bursts into flower in our lives and finally begins to bear fruit.
– Trevor Hudson, The Serenity Prayer

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
– The original version of the Serinity Prayer, as attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr

Click here for more excellent work by today’s featured artist, Nancy Eckels of California.

For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

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