God Didn’t Hand Me the Remote Control

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God Didn’t Hand Me the Remote Control

by Michael Xu

God didn’t hand me the remote control.

I was stoked for 2020. There were many goals I wanted to achieve. I was entering my second semester of my junior year and the production of my narrative short film was set in motion. My team and I scouted locations, rehearsed actors, and storyboarded. After dozens of meetings, we had a locked script. We were ready to shoot. The past two years of hard work had brought us to this point. We were all excited.

At the same time, I was planning our annual men’s retreat for my college fellowship, AACF. We rented out an Airbnb near a lake and we asked a pastor from a local church to speak for us. My goal was for the weekend to be a time to enjoy the beauty of God’s design in nature and to grow in vulnerability as brothers in Christ. I had high hopes for this retreat.

In March, the state of California issued a stay-at-home order.  Both of these plans were cancelled. Soon after, my classes became virtual, I moved home, and moved out of my apartment. All these things escalated so quickly and totally out of my control. I was frustrated and confused. Was everything I invested into this semester in vain? It felt as if God had pressed pause and I didn’t know when He was going to press the play button. I wanted to be able to press the play button.

Well, God didn’t hand me the remote control to press the play button. Why? Because God never pressed pause in the first place. I wanted control and in my sinful nature I deceived myself to believe that God was withholding me from growing. The truth was that God, in His Sovereignty, had already orchestrated and planned out my life. I applied to 30+ summer internships in hopes it would give me a step ahead of my peers in such a competitive industry to break into. I worked tirelessly to prepare for my narrative short film in hopes that it would give me an opportunity to put the knowledge and experience into a piece of work. I prayed that the upcoming men’s retreat for AACF would be a time of growth and that the weekly small group bible studies would come to fruition in my brothers’ faiths. These were all good things. Yet, when a good thing becomes bigger than our worship for the Lord, it becomes an idol. I wanted control and it had become an idol in my life that had remained hidden for all my life. 

God revealed to me that I don’t have control over my life. Everything is in His Sovereign hands. Because of this, I don’t need to be anxious about the uncertain future. Through Lighthouse’s faithful teachers, I’ve been reminded of these truths every week even when my sinful self refuses to trust in God’s Sovereignty. 

By His grace, I (undeservingly) was offered to work for our church as a video editor. I have the unique blessing of seeing first hand how much time, prayer, and love that our church has been investing into providing our church family (and beyond!) God’s truth. Our church members are all in different walks of life: newly born, children, teenagers, college students, young adults, adults, elderly. The beauty of the gospel is that we are all connected as brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. This is a unique season for all of us and our situations may seem like they change every second, but God remains the same. He has not pressed pause. God is continually working in our church leaders as they continue to find ways to make the gospel known, even by digital means. 

I pray that our church family would continue to walk steadfastly in the Gospel, remembering that God is Sovereign no matter what season He puts us through. We are truly undeserving of His grace, but God loves us so much he brings us new mercies everyday. God is in control. We don’t need to write our own story. 

13 “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” James 4:13-17

Categories: Stories of Grace