It happens regularly. Someone in the family misplaces the television remote, and we all embark on a frantic search, digging through pillows, clothes, papers, across counters, and under furniture until we find the powerful prize – the controller. I suppose we could get up and walk across the room and manually turn the TV on, and physically touch the buttons with our finger like we used to do with dials back in the old days to change the channel and volume and manage reception and display. But, in truth, many features require the remote to access and control them, and without the universal remote, we are powerless to manage our personal entertainment dynasty.

But, even then, what does the reigning ruler who holds the coveted clicker actually control? We imagine ourselves all powerful as we transport through vast dimensions of action, adventure, comedy, drama, education, and news. We visit ages past, present, and future with the touch of button, gain great knowledge, meet fascinating people, and form emotional bonds with characters, families, teams and towns real and imagined.

Inevitably, a dead battery in the remote, a glitch in the cable system, or a power outage can bring everything to a standstill.

Then, we find ourselves sitting on a couch with a useless box of plastic in one hand and a blank plate of glass staring at us from across a quiet room located in building situated on a planet rotating at 870 miles per hour on its axis at our latitude, orbiting our sun at 67,000 miles per hour in a galaxy spinning at hundreds of thousands of miles per hour through an expanding universe of multiple galaxies and unfathomable dimensions.

With each breath and pang of hunger or thirst we realize that our mere earthly existence is dependent upon an individualized body that requires oxygen, water, and food to operate a vast complex of physical operations, none of which we created or requested or voted into our lives.

With each bolt of lightning, each dawn and dusk, each vast array of clouds and light, each face and body type and personality that shadows our existence, each family reference to our ancestors and contact with our progeny, we realize that we control nothing, except perhaps the illusion that we are in control of many things.

In truth, we are hanging in space with no safety net, no back-up plan, and no ultimate control of almost anything, sustained only by a gracious, providential God who truly is the Controller.

If these are troublesome thoughts, fear not, for as the psalmist has written, “The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1) As Isaiah has written, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom” (Isaiah 40:28).

As the apostle Paul wrote about Jesus, “For Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17). And as Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me . . . I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:1,6).

Therefore, perhaps we should dispense with the illusion that we are ultimately in control of anything, that by worrying we can accomplish good, or that by passion or insinuation or knowledge or gaining leadership or wielding we can master our own universe. Rather, we should pray, trust the Lord, serve diligently and lovingly, and when we do kick back and press “Power” on our remote, know that God is the one true source of power and the ultimate controller of all.

Popcorn, anyone?

Published in Meat and Potatoes for the Soul, Copyright © 2013 by K. Lynn Lewis.