Have you ever felt unprepared? I mean for Christ's second coming? At times I know that, if the sky cracked open and the trumpet sounded for the saints to be called home, I would not be ready. Reinhold Niebuhr was a famous theologian known to most all of us clergy. You perhaps are not familiar with him but you are familiar with his prayer:
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.
The world has adopted this prayer and made it powerless. Here's the rest of it...
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship 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. [there's the power]
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.
We know it as the Serenity Prayer and it conveys an attitude I like very well. On many occasions, I absolutely refuse to accept people I know I have no possibility of changing. On other occasions, I don't have the courage to root out some sin from my life. Why? Cause I don't wanna.' And wisdom? Well, you know very well that's in short supply. The more I can adopt the attitude of the serenity prayer, the more ready I know I will be for His coming.
But unfortunately, many of us are like the elderly lady who in jest posted on her door in the retirement village the "Senility Prayer":
God, grant me the senility
To forget the people I've never liked,
The good fortune to run into the ones that I do like,
And the eyesight to tell the difference.
Pastor James "Skip" French is the pastor of Highland Christian Church, 1500 Forest Hills Blvd., Bella Vista. Opinions expressed are those of the author.