“But Dad, I just want to …”
I quickly interrupted, and warmly answered “My name is not ‘Butt Dad.’ The answer is still ‘no.’ ”
But the kids persisted.
Recalling one of my favorite one-liners from Duck Dynasty, I then replied, “Let me say it again in Spanish. No.”
But the kids persisted some more.
Further improvising, I responded more sternly, “How about French? No! Italian? No! Portuguese? No! German? Nein! Russian? Nyet! Any questions? No? Good!”
Sometimes “no” just means “no.”
How many times have you pleaded with someone to change their mind, and been told “no”?
How many times have you prayed to God to change a situation, and been told “no”?
It doesn’t matter how good, or holy, or righteous you are. It doesn’t matter how mean, or nasty, or evil the other person or situation is. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense or not. Sometimes “no” just means “no,” and all you can do is to serenely accept the situation.
This is exactly what happened to Paul the Apostle. After being tormented, Paul “pleaded with the Lord” three times to remove his “thorn in the flesh.” But, Paul struck-out when God said, “No, no and no.”
Maybe afterwards, Paul the Apostle prayed the Serenity Prayer, “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.”
We do know that Paul wisely and serenely accepted the situation, and recognized it for what it was – a divine opportunity to demonstrate how the grace of God combined with the weakness of a person can bring about perfection.
Could this explain why we are so enamored with Cinderella-type stories? Subconsciously, we recognize the grace of God working through the weakness of the underdog. Think about it. Cinderella wouldn’t be much of a story if the evil step-mother had said “yes.”
And besides, the Cinderella story had a “perfect” ending anyway – they lived happily ever after.
So when you are told “no,” wisely decide whether it is something you should attempt to change. If the answer is “no,” serenely accept it and live happily ever after.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank-you for the times You tell me “no.” Thank-you for the comfort, calm and peace of Your serenity. Thank-you for your wisdom, and thank-you for Your grace which makes me perfect even when I am weak. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I [Paul] was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Reinhold Niebuhr is credited as the author of the Serenity Prayer. In 1942, the prayer was brought to the attention of Alcoholics Anonymous. A shortened version was adopted and became an integral part of their 12-Step program. The most well-known, later version reads:
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 thing 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.
An Oldie, but a Goodie:
A proud new father sits down with his dad after the announcement of the new arrival.
“Well son, now that you have a child of your own, it is time I gave you something.”
“Dad, you don’t mean-?”
“Yes, I do. You’ve earned it.” Says the father as he passes a copy of 1,001 Dad Jokes, 40th Edition to the son.
“Dad, I don’t know what to say. I’m honored.”
“Nice to meet you Honored,” replies the father. “I’m Dad.”
- Pray 4 Serenity
- The Pray 4·40 List
- Duck Dynasty
- Paul the Apostle
- Thorn in the Flesh
- 2 Corinthians 17:7-9
- Reinhold Niebuhr
- Serenity Prayer
- Alcoholics Anonymous
- 12-Step Program
Copyright © 2015 by Reece B. Morrel, Jr. All rights reserved worldwide.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™
Notes on Pray 4 Serenity: