What hardships have found you today? Does peace seem far from your grasp? Don’t despair. Lift your hands and your problems to Jesus and find the peace He promised.
But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.
Psalm 31:14-16 – NIV
“Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace,”
-From The Serenity Prayer
Am I speaking out of turn if I suggest that peace is something most of us long for? In this frenetic, harried world we live in, we so often find ourselves searching for peace. We thirst for an end to the turmoil of life. Serenity sounds wonderful. We dream of a day when all our cares are forgotten, when our lives fall into place, when things finally get easier.
Still, no matter how much we crave it, peace remains fleeting, elusive, a child’s soap bubble floating in the air just beyond our grasp. Even if we manage to reach out, letting our fingers brush the surface, , our bubble of bliss bursts so readily, and we are left empty handed once more.
“Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace.” Did you notice that in these timeless words from the Serenity Prayer, the words “hardships” and “peace” appear in the same sentence? That doesn’t sound quite right, does it? Those two words don’t typically go together. One seems to rule out the other.
Hardships and peace cannot coexist, or can they? Perhaps it all boils down to expectations.
Let’s face it. We don’t want hardships. We want smooth sailing, all sunny days and bright blue skies. We want everything to go the way we want it to go. We want our days to be easy, our loved ones healthy and happy, our carefully laid plans to flow smoothly. We work so hard to control everything around us, planning and plotting, seeking to orchestrate our days down to the last detail in hopes that all our dreams will come true.
And then the rain comes. The trouble finds our doorstep. We are frustrated, disappointed and disillusioned. Often, we are just plain bitter.
Things didn’t turn out the way we had planned. “This wasn’t supposed to happen to me.” We weren’t prepared for the sickness, the accident, the pink slip. Now what?
Because we fail to expect the hardships inherent in this earthly life, we are stunned when they show up at our door. They shake the very foundations of our lives, and we are lost, desperate, and so very far from peace.
The pathway to peace begins when we resist the temptation to expect a trouble-free life. Jesus did not guarantee us a life free from trials. Quite the contrary. He said…“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Jesus did not promise that we would live free from trouble, he just promised that he would be with us through it. “He will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) .
When we accept this fallen and sinful world as it is, not as we would have it be, we take the first step along the pathway to peace. Our acceptance of hardships as part of life allows us to shun bitterness and embrace hope. Because our hope lies in Jesus, we can trust in His faithfulness to us, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. Jesus loves us unconditionally and forever. It is He who has overcome the world, and it is He who offers us the peace we so desperately seek.
Friends, it’s time to reset our expectations. We must resist the temptation to expect a trouble-free life. By accepting hardships as they come and trusting our Lord and Savior through those storms, we will find ourselves traveling the pathway to peace.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27 – NIV
Lord Jesus, we crave your peace. We thirst for your Living Water to wash away our fears and worries. Teach us to trust you with all our problems, to rest in the sure knowledge that you have it all under control, even when we cannot see the way forward. Help us grasp your peace, to hold onto it, even as we weather the storms of life. Thank you for never leaving us nor forsaking us, but instead, loving us with a love beyond anything we could ever imagine or deserve. Thank you, King Jesus.
In the Faithful Name of Jesus, we pray,