Someone once said that “the past is the best predictor of the future.” If this is true, then we may all need to buckle our seat belts for the second half of 2020, for we might be in for a bumpy ride!

As I write to you this day, June 1,  so much has already taken place this year. We have experienced the impact of a presidential primary and a global pandemic that has changed how we live life: the closing of local schools, businesses, places of worship and even in-person events at Auburn University. 

In recent days, the trauma of collectively witnessing the death of George Floyd has captured our attention and shaken the very foundations of our country. 

Pain and protest have come together and violence from the news medias have filled our eyes. We follow the news of our nation and world and we wonder, what next? 

Where can we turn for help, wisdom, and guidance? How do we pray? Is there wisdom from the past to guide us in these days?  

Recently, I have been reading the works of Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, who is known by many as the author of the Serenity Prayer. 


God grant me the 


to accept the things I 

cannot change; 

courage to change the 

things I can; 

and wisdom to know the difference.


This well-known prayer became popular in the 1930s and 40s when Alcoholics Anonymous included the prayer as part of the healing process in addiction recovery. 

This prayer reminds me of several important truths that we may all find helpful in these unpredictable days: 1. God is the source of Shalom, peace. 2. The cliché often heard in church circles is very true, “God is God and we are not.” 3. God is the source of wisdom and courage. 

Is there a word or phrase that you find helpful or hopeful in the Serenity Prayer?

For me, the good news is “if the past is the predictor of the future,” then we can know God’s hope, peace, serenity, and guidance is not too far away. 

As poet Alfred Lord Tennyson once stated of God, "Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet." 

As we lean into the second half of this year, would you join me in praying the prayer above? 

Can we join together as a community that is purposefully seeking God’s peace, wisdom, and courage?


Dr. Cory Smith is the Senior Minister of Auburn United Methodist Church. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, The Candler School of Theology at Emory University and Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. He is married to Alicia, and they have one daughter, Sarah Morgan.

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