Justin Reyes

Justin Reyes

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference” (the Serenity Prayer).

This prayer has helped bring peace to many, including those suffering from anxiety, depression and addictions. In its short and sweet words, this prayer presents important truths about God and our relationship to him. And this prayer can also bring much peace to our families on a daily basis.

As a parent, it feels like the world around me is changing much faster than it used to. The old rules and systems we used to rely on are breaking down. The old ways of doing things don’t seem to work. But thankfully, we have a God who is never-changing. His truths never expire; they never grow old; and they never fail.

I recently spoke with a woman who was in a challenging relationship for many years. This relationship led to much harm for both her and her daughter. While she waited and prayed for the situation to change, nothing did. She finally had the realization that she could make the change. In fact, the answered prayer was herself rising to the challenge and taking ownership. Thankfully, she was able to rescue her and her daughter from that situation, and is on a path to healing. But the important thing is taking that one next step, that one next move, towards redemption. God is with us along the journey.

If you find yourself in a situation that seems overwhelming, like there is no way out, I encourage you to memorize the serenity prayer, or keep a printed version of it nearby. I assure you that it will help you find peace, as it has for myself and so many others. We need to remember that God is in control, and that he has our best interests at heart. Oftentimes, the things we think are such a threat to us, we have little to no control over at all. When we start to focus on what we can change, then we can make progress.

On this note, I’d like to share one more story. There was once a man who tried to control a people and their religion. He advocated for their imprisonment, and even their brutal harm, trying to stamp them out one after the other. One day, while on a journey, he was struck down by a vision of God, who asked him, “Why do you persecute me?” This experience caused the man to look at his life, reflect and make a change. Perhaps God was acting in a way that was surprising him? Perhaps God was asking him to view the circumstances in a different light?

This man finally let go, and let God have his way. By letting go, he saw what God was truly doing, giving birth to a new faith that would bring eternal life to many. That man is St. Paul, once one of the greatest persecutors of Christians. Acts 9 in the Bible tells us of his conversion story, which led to him becoming one of the most prolific missionaries of all time.

Is God asking you to have a St. Paul moment and look at a certain situation in a different way? If we can learn to let go and let God, we can begin to see the amazing plan he is unfolding, not just to benefit us, but others as well. God bless.

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Justin Reyes is director of Family Evangelization for the Catholic Diocese of Victoria.

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