“Accept the Things I Cannot Change”

“How then will the scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?” (Matthew 26:54)

The final words of Jesus’ sentence here were significant: “It must happen this way.” His arrest was going to happen. It had been prophesied in the scriptures. In fact it had to happen, in order that He could die on the cross for our sins. The redemption of mankind depended upon it. “It must happen this way.” Jesus knew that, and He did not resist His arrest — and He told His disciples to put down their swords and accept it as well.

This is not merely a historical fact; it also serves as a reminder that we may experience such occasions in our own lives as well. There are things we need to fight against, and there are things we need to accept.  There are times when “this illness is not unto death” and we are to fight against that physical ailment with all we have. But there are also times for us to discern that this is the time that God is calling us to Himself, and we can and should accept it.

There are a number of such things in life which we are to accept, and not “buck” against. This does not mean that we are to accept everything; in fact some of us need to struggle more fervently against events and circumstances than we tend to do.  But there are also times when accepting something as from the hand of God, and inevitable, is the godly thing to do.

We need God’s discernment in this. Reinhold Niebuhr’s prayer may be an appropriate one here: “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.”

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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