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Pastoral Pearls: Surrender and Trust

Posted by MaryPat Potts on

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. ~Reinhold Niebuhr (Lines 6 & 7 of The Serenity Prayer)

You may not know it, but this is part of that wonderful Serenity Prayer, where we ask for serenity, wisdom, and courage. This line, from the lesser-known “rest of the prayer,” has been much in my mind lately for a variety of reasons. I find I am getting entrenched in my own righteous indignation, anger or resentment regarding things going on around me lately – including the heated emotions regarding the lingering and increase in COVID here in Minnesota especially, when we all just want to be done with it; changes in Church which may feel uncomfortable or hard to understand; political antagonism and cross-purposes which sometimes boggle my mind; complications from all sides going on in my own personal life, which cause me to question or argue with God.

I seem to be painfully aware of the “sinfulness of this world, as it is.” and sometimes allow it to overshadow every good thing that is of God, that continually try to shine through. I’m beginning to realize that maybe because of my need to control things, when in fact things are not in my control, I butt my head against the wall constantly trying to make things as I think they should be, but find I fall short. By focusing on this desire for control, I cannot be present to the actual reality of the moment. 

Acceptance of things as they are (not as I think they should be or wish they were), and trusting that, though I may not have things in control, God does, is unbelievably hard! Somehow God will make sense out of any mess. I need to work within the reality that surrounds me. My question or desire cannot be, “They have to change this!” but “what am I able to do to work for good, within this sinful reality?" Surrendering to God’s will is also a lot harder to do than to say. I have to remind myself that God has got this, and ask God, “What do you want me to do, to facilitate better understanding?” Here are my mantras and challenges to myself for today: “Take this world as it is, not as I would have it,” and “Trust that God will make all things right, in God’s way and God’s time.”

 Loving God,

help me to be at peace with the fact that I am NOT in control

and I cannot always have life and circumstances be the way I feel they should be.

Fill me with the strength I need to accept what I cannot control,

confident that You can and will handle it – this sinful reality – better than I ever could.

May your Holy Spirit teach me to Trust your will,

allowing me to surrender to your greater wisdom and understanding. 




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