by Beth A Richardson on September 3, 2012 · 60 comments


by Trevor Hudson

Whenever we find ourselves experiencing difficulties, we need to hold on to one bit of good news. Put very simply, it is this: God is deeply present in all the facets of our lives, even when they are painful. . . . There is no fear, no loss, no grief, no loneliness, no despair, no addiction, no desolation, no suffering that God does not share in. God is continually present and reaching out to us in whatever we may be going through at this moment. . . .

[Hardships] are . . . where the suffering God draws close to us. God can only bless us where we actually are, especially when we are going through rough times. If we constantly try to escape our pain, we can easily miss the gifts that God wants to bless us with. Gifts like peace and serenity and growth. . . .

Small Steps toward Acceptance
You may be wondering what this acceptance involves, especially in the light of the particular hardships life may have thrown at you. Does it mean having to accept them with passive resignation by throwing up our hands, doing nothing, and leaving everything to God? Or does it mean some- thing very different? . . . Here are some small steps that may lead us into a deeper acceptance of our hardships as the pathway to peace:

We can take some time to look at the cross, where we can see what God’s love is really like. The mystery of the cross reminds us that God is no stranger to human pain. God not only understands our suffering but also shares it. We are never alone in our pain. This truth keeps the light of faith flickering in our broken hearts, renews hope in our grieving, and rekindles love in hearts that have been betrayed and broken.

We can affirm that God is present with us in our painful and trying situations. We can say to ourselves, “This situation is where God is wanting to meet and bless me.” This simple affirmation can help us to see every difficult situation as an opportunity for God’s good- ness, love, and competence to become a reality in our experience. It can also open our hearts to receive God’s gifts of serenity and peace.

We can find another person to be our wailing wall, someone who can listen to our stories of struggle without trying to change or fix us. Few things prove more helpful in times of great difficulty than to have another human being come alongside of us and bear our pain with us. Such a friend becomes an open channel of God’s love and care.

We can choose to be gentle with ourselves. Often when we go through hard times, we can be very hard on ourselves. “If only I had done ________, this would not have happened.” “I must have done something wrong to have brought this awful thing about.” Refraining from these kinds of negative self- accusations can help us keep our sense of worth and dignity, even when circumstances go badly wrong.

We can ask God for the strength to take constructive action when we are tempted to give up. It could be something very simple, such as walking around the block, making ourselves a cup of tea, taking a walk in the garden, or phoning a good friend. A purely passive diversion like reading or watching television is usually not enough to rouse us from our darkness and depression. We need to act by summoning all our courage and doing something simple and creative.

I have not found it easy to write this . . . because I am deeply aware that many of those reading these words are facing almost unbearable hardships. But I do know, from the witness of many courageous people around me, that we can experience God’s presence in moments of deep pain. When we do, we are able to take small steps toward acceptance. Each step is like a candle burning in the dark. It does not take the darkness away, but it guides us through and along the pathway of peace.

From The Serenity Prayer: A Simple Way to Enrich Your Life by Trevor Hudson. Copyright © 2012 by the author. Used with permission of Upper Room Books.

Art Credit: Hemera / Thinkstock

Debbie Halcomb September 4, 2012 at 10:36 am

This spoke to me very deeply. As I walk through darkness I know in my heart and mind that God is there with me. However, my awareness of that presence fades from consciousness as I drag through my day. Practicing some of these steps will hopefully help my awareness of God’s presence as I am prone to escape into the TV, books or computer games rather than facing my darkness.

Beth Richardson October 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Thanks, belatedly, Debbie, for your comments. I wish you courage and acceptance in facing your darkness.


Mary Maloney September 8, 2012 at 7:12 am

Thankyou for having the courage to write these encouraging words. Here on the Alive Now site they will help many! May God continue to Bless You Greatly!

Beth Richardson October 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Thank you, Mary. We really love Trevor Hudson’s words and work.


John A October 8, 2012 at 8:11 pm

So true, Forgiving myself is diddicult

Beth Richardson October 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm

It really is hard, isn’t it? May you be given the grace to forgive yourself.


Gretchen October 12, 2012 at 8:26 am

I cannot change another’s heart, but I can pray for God to change my own heart. I cannot undo the pain of hurtful words, but I can pray for healing. I cannot fix another’s behavior, but I can pray for reconciliation.
God, help me to be humble but not a victim, forgiving but not enabling, strong but not defensive. God, help me to trust your infinite understanding and not my own limited perspective. Amen.

Debbie October 12, 2012 at 11:26 am

Loved your prayer. I will pray it for myself several times.

Beth Richardson October 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Thank you, Gretchen, for sharing your prayer. It’s a blessing to us.


Camille December 10, 2012 at 6:58 am

Thank you for this powerful and affirming prayer. Wow! This is now my daily prayer.

Kristen Wall-Love April 30, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Thank you for this prayer! It is going to be my daily prayer for a while–as I need it in my life presently.

Joan October 12, 2012 at 8:44 am

Beautifully written

Beth Richardson October 12, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Thanks, Joan. Amen!

Laura October 16, 2012 at 10:34 am

What a blessing to find this today! I have a cat that I love dearly that I am going to need to put to sleep within the next couple of weeks or so. She has been the only pet I’ve ever had, so I’ve never dealt with losing a pet before. This selection by Trevor Hudson really spoke to me. God truly is present in my grief, and will help me through this as I work toward acceptance.

Beth Richardson October 16, 2012 at 10:56 am


I’m so sorry about your cat. These things are so hard. I’m really grateful that you’ve found some peace in this reading. Blessings to you in the coming weeks.


Camille December 10, 2012 at 7:05 am

I am grateful for this gentle reminder of how God uses the pain when we surrender and that we do not have to fall victum to circumstances. This is not only well rewritten, it brings together all the things I’ve know but struggled with into one complete package. This piece is ministering to my heart and mind in a mighty way. We all go through something at some point in our lives. Here are some managable ways of not getting stuck in the pain and letting God do a marvelous work in us.

Angie May 28, 2013 at 3:53 am

Consciously training our focus onto the presence of God is vitally important. It opens channels of grace to Our Lord that can overflow an abundance of love, peace, and joy into our being. It is a journey and sometimes moment by moment. The good news is we are never alone and loved beyond our comprehension. Brother Lawrence wrote about this in the1600s and Trevor reflects it in his writings now. Thank you for an uplifting composition. It is divinely inspired.

Beth Richardson May 28, 2013 at 9:21 am

Thank you, Angie, for taking the time to reflect and post. It IS good news.


mary maloney May 28, 2013 at 7:24 am

greetingsto all, Thanks Angie for your truthful comment as we hang in and hang on. Beth, some-times last weeks audio lectio is the one we need to hear. Love and prayers, ML maloney

Beth Richardson May 28, 2013 at 9:21 am

Blessings and thanks, Mary.


Angie May 29, 2013 at 4:20 am

I agree with Mary. Audio lectio is an amazing tool to connect to Our Lord’s message for our daily journey. The quite time alone with God, while other’s serve us with the Word, is an amazing experience. This is an example of the positive use of technology for our needs today. God is the Way. The flooding of our auditory senses with His Word, the variety of voices and intonation, and the silence are all so deep. We are very blessed. A lot of devoted work is reaping thevfruit of the Holy Spirit. Thank you.

Beth Richardson May 29, 2013 at 7:32 am

Thanks, Angie. So glad it blesses you. Thank you for taking the time to share.


mary maloney April 29, 2014 at 7:36 am

Praise to God and thanks again for your resources of surrender as we surrender again and again. Thankyou God as your Holy Spirit continues to teach us. God’s blessings to all who have ears to hear. My Love and Prayers, MLM

Mary L. Maloney April 12, 2016 at 1:16 pm

Many months go by but the Holy Spirit continues to teach what we need to hear. Thanks always for being the vehicle for the use of the Holy Spirit. God’s best blessings to you. L&Ps, MLM

Roberta February 5, 2017 at 8:07 am

Dealing with cancer. Keeping my face towards Jesus, knowing that I can trust His love, His mercy- He is my strength. Thank you for these posts. The serenity prayer has been a light to me for 30 years. And still shines clearly. Love to all.

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