Remote Control

Good Afternoon,

I hope and pray your day is off to a great start! I'm feeling a bit nostalgic today. Over the weekend I did a concert of music by Marvin Gaye. Motown music was a staple in my household when I was a kid.  I have to say, the music from Saturday night's show took my mind back to those childhood days. 

I am a child of the 80's. I grew up playing with G.I. Joe and Thunder Cat action figures. The top shelf toy of my childhood was the remote control car and not the cheapo ones that had a cord. My friends and I used to salivate over the high end radio remote control cars that were sold at places like Radio Shack for $50 even $100. Those were the holy grail of the toy pantheon for us boys.

There was something fascinating about this concept to us as kids. There was something about holding the controller and making decisions about which way the car would turn, how fast it would go, how close it would come to obstacles without crashing into them. I was mezmorized by the toy and the sense of control that came with it. When one of my uncles bought the cars for me and my other cousins one Christmas, all of us nearly lost our minds! 

Today, we enjoy even richer senses of control in so many different aspects of our lives. In so many places, we are able to simply speak and our will is done. We talk to our cars, computers, TVs, and game systems. We simply say what we want and our devices and machines do it! Talk about remote control! If only our daily lives were so simple. If only we had the same kind of remote control over our circumstances, our experiences, our anguish, our pain, our inadequacies. There are lots of places in our lives where, (I'm willing to bet,) we would really love to get some control - voice activated or radio; any control would do. Right?

The fact is we really don't have much control in this life. That's reality. That lack of control is deeply unsettling to most of us. For many of us, it is something we fight throughout our lives. We desperately want that control and our inability to find it is often the central reason why we cannot find peace in our lives.

What I'm slowly learning is that going for the proverbial remote control in life is going in the exact opposite direction of peace! Control doesn't proliferate peace, simply because we are so limited in all of the resources that are necessary for control. We aren't built to control.

I'm growing in my belief that peace comes from a deepening acceptance of our inability control and a childlike dependence on the source of all control. Romans 11 tells us exactly where that source is located:

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgements and his paths beyond tracing out! "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God that God should repay them? For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be glory forever! Amen.

Romans 11:33-36


For a lot of us, we have such a difficult time finding peace because we don't want to give up our remote controls in life. We want authority. We want run things. So, we sit with our remote controls like children, frustrating ourselves trying to move the controls this way and that. We press every button, we twist every control and find ourselves unsettled when things don't cooperate with our controlling.

Paul's soaring doxology at the end of chapter 11 in Romans reminds us that our remote controls won't ever work. Romans 11 reminds us that not only does God have every resource necessary for effective control of all things, but also that we do not. Romans 11 not only reminds us of who is in control, but also why he is in control.

As we set out into this week, let's pray for a deeper acceptance and flourishing trust in God's sovereign control. Let's ask him to create hearts in us that not only trust him for the outcomes we pray for, but also trusts him with decisions in all things - whether we get the outcome we want or not. Let's pray for a deepened trust that accepts and joys in God's sovereign control. The byproduct of this kind of deepened trust is unshakable peace and that's something we are all seeking after in our lives.

So, this week's goal: look for ways to let go of our remote controls.

Questions for this week

  • Do I try to "counsel" God about how things should be done or what the outcome of situations should be?
  • Do I really have faith in God or is my faith just about getting what I want, avoiding discomfort, etc.?
  • Do I really believe I have the resources and capacity that are necessary to effectively control my life?
  • Can I see that if I do more accepting God's sovereign control I can enjoy more peace?