The Control Room


What does the “Control Room” in your head look like?
Are there dials to turn?
A panel of lights?
Lots of switches to deal with?
Maybe a gauge or two that you keep an eye on?

Would you know if things are getting out of control?
Would lights flash, buzzers buzz, bells ring?
Would you go ballistic when trouble starts?
Would you attempt to work it out, design a better plan, or fix the problem on your own?
Or…would you back on out of the room, shut the door, and leave it to God?

Just this week, in talking with a friend about control issues, the whole idea of the “Control Room” started to take shape in my mind. I pictured a room, with a door that held a plaque that read, “Control Room.” I began to think of this room as being a place that is off limits to those who know and love God. A place where we have no business being, but too often find ourselves, trying to steer the “ship.”

What would happen if we backed out of there, closed the door, and left all the decisions in our life, and in the lives of others, to God? What would happen if we considered the Control Room to be a place that was beyond us, beyond what we know, beyond the responsibilities that we have been given in this life?

Would we then stand outside the door and try to listen in?
Would we knock on the door, hoping to be let back in?
Would we learn to live in the freedom we’ve been given, trusting the One in control?

We know what we’d like to do, or so we think. Most of us would agree that we’d like to leave it all up to God. We’d like Him to handle our problems, and just be the children He’s designed us to be…but then there’s a struggle. Not with whether God is able, most of us would agree that He is…the problem is whether we are willing to put our trust in Him to take care of the things that are most important to us. It’s hard to ask for God’s advice, and then actually follow Him through the maze of what’s most puzzling.

In reading John recently, I read of the talk Jesus was having with Peter after His resurrection. (John 21:20) It seems they were walking together, after enjoying a breakfast of fish and bread. Jesus was asking Peter to “feed his sheep.” Peter turned around and saw John following them, and he asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” Jesus said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You follow me.” John was not Peter’s responsibility…Peter’s responsibility in life was simply to follow Jesus. Isn’t ours the same?

If we stand outside the door and try to listen in, or knock and maybe see if we can help out just a bit…then trusting in God, simply following Jesus through this life, is still a struggle. Does that include you? If we’re honest, we’d have to say at different times in our lives, it includes all of us, wouldn’t you agree?

So, what do we do about it?

We need to learn to trust…but that’s easier said than done.

The Lord has said to me in the strongest terms:
“Do not think like everyone else does. Do not
be afraid that some plan conceived behind closed doors
will be the end of you. Do not fear anything except
the Lord Almighty. He alone is the Holy One.
If you fear him, you need fear nothing else.”
Isaiah 8:11-13 (NLT)

How do we learn to trust when we live in a world that’s hurting, that hurts us, that seems cruel at times, that makes no sense, that seems cold and harsh and so short on the love that we need? Where is the “School of Trust” that we can attend to learn the skills we need, to allow God to handle all our problems today? Where do we sign up? How much will it cost us? Will we find that the Degree we obtain will really support us in this life? So many questions…needing answers, but where do we go? And if the answer is found in the Control Room, the room where we’re not allowed, then what?

Lately, the term “Flying by the seat of our pants” has come up in conversations about walking with God. It seems it’s possibly one of the best ways to describe what a life of abandonment to God might feel like. In abandoning our life to God, it seems sort of like we’re out of control at first, with no logical understanding that can explained--but with that, comes an interesting sense of peace in the midst of a whole bunch of “junk.” It starts to feel like the world continues to spin all around us, but there’s a place in the center of it all that resembles the eye of a storm. As I recently heard Pastor Dave Haney define peace, he said, “It’s not the absence of trouble, but the presence of strength.”

In looking up exactly what the “eye” of the storm is, I found this information:

“Winds are eerily calm at the very center of a hurricane, an area known as the ‘eye’ of the storm. Little or no precipitation falls in the eye, and the sun may even shine through. The eye features the lowest atmospheric pressure and the highest temperatures of the storm. This refuge of relatively calm winds is surrounded by the ‘eyewall,’ which is the area of highest surface winds in the tropical cyclone.” (Source: MSN Encarta)

Let’s dissect this in spiritual terms--what a life abandoned to God might look like:

  1. It is eerily calm in the center of what should be most difficult.
  2. The Son shines through the darkness
  3. Less stress, even though fires rage.
  4. It’s a place of refuge.
  5. It’s a life surrounded by the greatest force of all.

Amazing how the definition of something that God has created that happens on this earth with weather, resembles how a relationship with God could be described--completely different aspects of life, and yet so parallel. Is it an accident, a freak of nature, a stretch of the imagination or thought, or is it in the perfect plan of God to help us to see Him, His ways, His power, and His majesty in all things?

The other day, I was asking myself, and God, some questions about healing. What does it really look like? What does it really mean? Is a heart really healed when tears still fall at different times, and missing is still a part of each day? How does one categorize a healed heart at all?

The only answer that came to me was this: A healed heart could be described as one willing to embrace the perfect plan, of a perfect God, which results in a peace that transcends understanding in the storms of life.

This does not negate what has happened. It does not mean that emotions are discredited or squelched. It does not attempt to say that the trials have not been difficult. It does not mean that doubts and fears and questions and anger have not been involved. The healing comes through and out of all of this, taking us to a place where the healed heart can step out of the Control Room and leave the unanswered questions with God, and be at peace with that…and quite possibly, to then arrive at a place where the healed heart can then find another heart that’s gotten stuck in the Control Room, and help that heart find the way out too…“taking care of the sheep.”

How many of us are hanging onto the control of our lives, and losing our grip? When our strength is gone, will we drop into a dark cavern below to our death? Some will, because some have not learned of the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ--the only One who can bear our burdens with ease—the only One who can set us back on our feet again, able to walk through this life whole and fully alive.

There’s a story in the book by Hannah Whitall Smith, about a man in a deep well. It goes like this:

“A man was obliged to descend into a deep well by sliding down a fixed rope which was supposed to be of ample length. But to his dismay he came to the end of it before his feet had touched the bottom. He had not the strength to climb up again and to let go and drop seemed to him but to be dashed to pieces in the depths below. He held on until his strength was utterly exhausted and then dropped, as he thought, to his death. He fell—just three inches—and found himself safe on the rock bottom.”

Hannah goes on to say:

“Are you afraid to take this step? Does it seem too sudden, too much like a leap in the dark? Do you not know that the step of faith always “falls on the seeming void, but finds the rock beneath”? If ever you are to enter this glorious land, flowing with milk and honey, you must sooner or later step into the brimming waters, for there is no other path; and to do it now may save you months and even years of disappointment and grief.”

I drew a picture in my book of a well, with a rope, and a man hanging there, at the end of it, just 3” from the bottom. I wrote next to the picture, “3 inches separates us from the land of milk and honey!”

How sad is that? Can we imagine getting to Heaven and facing God, and hearing that we only had three inches to go before we would have been set free from the bondage we lived in every day on earth, if we had only let go, and let God? If only we had stepped out of the “Control Room” and died to ourselves, our ways, our thoughts, our will, we would have been able to experience the abandoned life hid in Christ that we have been called to as the children of God…and find our rest there.

The truth is, a kernel of wheat must be planted in the soil.
Unless it dies, it will be alone—a single seed. But its death
will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.
Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who
despise their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
John 12:24-25 (NLT)

I wrote in my Bible next to this verse, “When we fall out of love with our life, we fall into the love of a life hid in Christ.” If this world is all we believe we have, then we're doomed from the get-go. When we can let go of the life we know, then eternal life is already ours, on this very day--a life full to overflowing with the blessing of knowing God.

Hannah encourages us in her book, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, to “Let our faith now lay hold of a new power in Christ. You have trusted Him as your dying Savior; now trust Him as your living Savior…your part in both cases is simply to give the thing to Him to do and then believe that He does it.”

Through prayer, we can have contact with the Person in charge of our lives any time we want to, but ultimately, we must leave the decisions about our life with our Savior and not fret over all of it! We are called to live in peace, in the eye of the storm--a storm that almost continually rages on this earth—but we’re not supposed to get sucked into it! Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NLT)

For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.
As a result, I can really know Christ and experience the mighty
power that raised him from the dead. I can learn what it means
to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that, somehow, I can
experience the resurrection of the dead! Philippians 3:9-11 (NLT)

See that? “Somehow” it says…we don’t have to understand it all! We just have to believe it all! We just have to let go of the rope, and drop into our freedom! God knows there will be suffering along the way--we are told not to be surprised by that. Do we hate it that suffering and hardship surrounds us and also invades our own lives? Most times, yes we do! But it is part of the world we live in, so we’re not able to avoid it, and it’s a lie to even think we can! The enemy wants us to think that it shouldn’t be this way, when he’s the very one who caused it in the first place. Jesus is truthful with us. Jesus isn’t promising us a rose garden until Heaven. As far as being on this earth is concerned, Jesus is saying it’s going to be tough. The challenge then becomes, what do we do with it when it arrives? We have to follow Jesus! He knows the way!!

Just while writing this message, I received a phone call from our oldest son, who lives in Oregon. He and his wife have a daughter who is almost two, and we are waiting for the call to come any day now that their second daughter is arriving in this world. It’s an exciting time for them, but after enjoying an evening out together last night they arrived home to find a letter in their mailbox telling them they must move in 30 days. So, when the call came this morning, it was not one of good news, but one of distressing news.

What do we do about that? I know what our flesh would like to do. It seems like anger and frustration are what’s called for here, but it’s in prayer that we will learn to trust the One in charge of the whole operation… So, we pray…and we pray, until we find our way into the main Control Room that runs this whole universe and beyond.

Wait! Did I just say we enter into the Control Room? Yes, I did…so what are we doing in there again, you might ask? Isn’t this room off limits? Well, this time it’s different, something has changed…we’re not there to help control anything, we’re there as an invited guest. This is totally different than thinking we “own” the place. This place belongs to God, and it’s usually in times of distress that we pray and begin to understand that this is our Father’s Room, His Throne Room, and He loves it when we visit with Him there. He wants to hear our problems. He wants to help us. He wants us to ask Him, and then for us to watch how He will work things out for our own good, because we love Him. That’s what He does best.

“Until you get to the point of asking you won’t receive from God. To receive means you have come into the relationship of a child of God, and now you perceive with intelligent and moral appreciation and spiritual understanding that these things come from God.”
(Oswald Chambers-June 9th-My Utmost for His Highest)

The Throne Room of God is to be entered into with reverence. If we’ll do this, we’ll notice that our perceptions of this place have changed; the scenery is different than what we thought of as a “Control Room.” There are no lights here, no switches, no gauges, no dials, there are only steps leading up to a Father and a Son, sitting side by side. There is no chaos in this room, only peace. The room is full of power and wisdom. It is a place of comfort, where all fear is cast out because of the Love that is all-consuming here. It is Home to all who do believe, and we are welcome anytime.

What draws us into this room is Who’s buried deep inside the heart of every believer, God’s Holy Spirit. He is the one who lives in the center of our being. He is the Great Counselor—the Spirit of truth. He is the One who unlocks the “door” and ushers us into God’s Holy Presence. He is the Gift that Jesus left us with, the Gift of peace of mind and heart. It is not a peace that matches up with the circumstances of this world because we are not to be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27)

God’s Throne Room is the place where we learn to trust our Savior. We are encouraged to enter in, take a look around, and get very familiar with the surroundings…to bring our heartache and our tears, our praises and our thanks. We already signed up on the day we said, “Yes” to Jesus. We can bring our Bible along, and read and learn of God’s great promises. We can ask questions, listen for the answers, sit in silence, come alone, or gather two or more together and enjoy what’s being offered. The cost for the Degree in learning to trust God was paid in full when Jesus gave up His life on the Cross. The door was opened that day to all who will believe--the Temple Curtain was torn from top to bottom, allowing all to enter in. What we learn in God’s Throne Room will support us for the rest of our days on this earth, and beyond.

Jesus said, “I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They are not part of this world any more than I am. Make them pure and holy by teaching them your words of truth.” (John 17:14-16 NLT)

We’re not here on earth to learn how to control things. We’re here to get to know God, to discover the truth of the promises found in His Word, and to live in the trust that is developed in His presence…not by thinking like everyone else does, but by having the mind of Christ. Not by being afraid of some plan conceived behind closed doors, but by spending time with God and resting there even when it seems that the whole world is against us. We are not to fear anything except the Lord Almighty—the One who loves us with a supernatural unlimited and unconditional love.

As we go through trials in this life, praying our way through them, seeing God bring the good out of the bad, finding His strength when we are weak, searching for and finding His help in our distress--slowly but surely we will learn to trust Him, and to rest in the Hope He gives to us. Sometimes, when life becomes more than we ever thought we could bear, it’s only the Hope of an eternity in Heaven that helps us put one foot in front of the other until we get there.

Let each step we take be placed in the footsteps of Jesus, as we follow Him through each day! Let’s remember His words, “Peace be with you.”--a peace that can only be found in God’s Throne Room of Grace and Mercy!

Desiring to follow Him,