You’ve heard it said that nothing is permanent except change. Perhaps no one understands this principle better that those who go sailing. On land, traveling is relatively simple. You can usually count on the ground to be steady, and the route from point A to point B is often a straight line. But those who sail know that the sea can be unpredictable—smooth as glass one moment and raging billows the next. What’s more, sailors depend on the wind for direction and momentum, but wind does not always blow the way you want it to, and it changes frequently. With this knowledge, the sailors simply adjust their sails. Their course may not be a straight line, but it does finally bring them to their destination.
Life is more like the sea than land. Even the best planning and the most careful attention to detail cannot always account for the unexpected “winds of change.” Minds change, needs change, and sometimes even our goals change. Some change is under our control, but much of it isn’t. So we adjust accordingly. The need to be flexible in times of change is just as important as having a plan in the first place.
The American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote a simple prayer that today is a beloved source of peace and inspiration for millions. It has come to be known as the “Serenity Prayer”:
“God give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”1
Grace, courage, and wisdom. With these vital attributes, we can deal with the inevitable changes in the wind that accompany life’s journey.
The sailor who fights against the wind will make very little progress. Wise sailors know that the wind and the sea are outside their control. But there is just enough within their control to empower them to move forward. Those who adjust and use new circumstances to their advantage can reach their desired destination, no matter how the winds blow.
May 23, 2021
Broadcast Number 4,784
The Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
From All That Dwell Below the Skies
John Hatton; arr. Mack Wilberg
The King of Love My Shepherd Is
Irish tune; arr. Mack Wilberg
In Thee Is Gladness
Giovanni G. Gastoldi; setting by Daniel Kallman
More Holiness Give Me
Philip Paul Bliss; arr. Ronald Staheli
Shaker song; arr. Mack Wilberg
Rejoice, the Lord Is King
Horatio Parker; arr. Ryan Murphy