I’m aware that peace has been a recurring theme in my blogs lately. It is my word for this year and I keep coming back to it, asking God to show me how to live in peace.
I’ve come to see peace as an action word, and this morning thought about how do I practice peace every day? How does it become part of my response to the challenges of life, and we all have challenges!
We have recently been on holidays and it was wonderful to have a reprieve from responsibilities. Re-entry isn’t always easy as we shift back to a full schedule and catch up on the things we left behind.
Yesterday in our weekly prayers at the hospital we prayed the beautiful Serenity prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) and did you know there is a long version? It goes like this:
God, give me 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 line that stood out for me as I prayed it yesterday was the one of accepting hardship as a pathway to peace. It is a profound way to think and is linked to trust and surrender. (Which he goes on to highlight).
This peace comes deep from within, in a life that is focused on the Source of Peace, a deep trust in the One who created us, who knows the bigger picture. It is easy to lose focus as we immerse ourselves into the everyday.
Distractions come. Disappointments, pain, misunderstandings, trouble of all kinds, suffering, loss, heartache, all this and more can occupy our minds, understandably. All of this gives us opportunity to practice peace. Peace in the midst of life
The verse I chose to dwell on this week talks about perfect peace which seem unattainable at times. But the key to this kind of peace is made very clear. It is all about focus.
The verse is from Isaiah 26:3, You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
It reminded me of a song I used to sing which goes like this, Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face. And the things of this world will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.
There is grace for the journey. We are not alone. I am grateful for these thoughts as I determine to practice peace.