This is part of the originally untitled prayer as it was written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971). It is now called the Serenity Prayer and has been adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step programs.
Now, I do not have twelve steps to write about but I’d like to convey a simple message here. There is a difference between what obtains in life and what ought to be. There is what life gives you and there is what you ought to have. I’ve heard it said that life is not fair; it doesn’t give you what you deserve but what you fight for. There are things you can change and those you cannot. Therefore, it is your responsibility to know what to accept and what to reject.
You cannot change your age. You couldn’t determine when to be born. You couldn’t decide your gender. You couldn’t choose the family you were born into, but you can choose the family you will marry into. You couldn’t determine where to be born, but you can do something about where you live. You couldn’t choose how you were born, but you can choose how you will live. You didn’t have the power to choose your name, but you have the power to change it.
1 Chronicles 4:9-10 NIV says, 9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
A bad start doesn’t always necessarily mean a bad end. Jabez was born in pain and I imagine that wherever the man went pain followed him there. It reached a point that he just had had enough. He needed a change. Everyone knew him as “pain” but he saw beyond that. He saw that he was more honorable than his brothers. His mom didn’t even know it! A classic case of mother doesn’t always know best. (Sorry mom.)
Jabez understood 2 simple keys and decided to use them:
- The power of God. (Psalm 62:11)
- The name of the Lord (Proverbs 18:10)
December is here. Some of us think that it came too soon. It appears like there is no time to change anything in our lives but I urge you brethren, like Jabez let us tap into the power of God for He alone holds the power to turn our lives around. All power belongs to Him. Let us invoke the name of the Lord because from it we draw power to break every chain and enforce our liberty; by it we pull down and create. Praise the Lord, in His name we have the power to change our situations.