Hand Over the Controller

When we were kids, my brother and I received one of our favorite presents – a Super Nintendo. We were overjoyed to jump into the world of Donkey Kong, Joe & Mac, and of course, Mario. It’s amazing how quickly we learned to maneuver our players and dominate entire games.

Super Mario World was my favorite game, but my brother enjoyed racing games. I was really bad at racing games; and here’s why: 

First, I get motion sick very easily. 

Second, I’m unable to control my player, especially in a first-person view. 

And third, anytime a game involves a split screen, I forget which player is mine. My quick glance to another player’s screen inevitability turns into the belief that I’m controlling the car in first place. Meanwhile, my car is actually driving into a wall, pretty close to the starting line. 

The only time I ever had any hope of winning, or finishing, a racing game was when I surrendered my controller to my brother and allowed him to do what he was good at. 

Go ahead, you can laugh… but there’s a huge life lesson in there. Many of us live our lives like I play racing games. We believe that we are in control, but we’re really just making a mess of things on our own. And our only hope to finish well is to surrender. 

One of the best examples of this is from the book of Daniel, in the life of King Nebuchadnezzar. Although King Neb had witnessed firsthand the authority God had in plenty of circumstances (see Daniel 1-3), he continued to believe he was in control of his own life.

Until one day, everything changed.

King Neb was on his rooftop, admiring his kingdom and gloating about his own power: 

"Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor." (Daniel 4:30 - NLT)

In the midst of his self-acclamation, he lost all control. 

"The words were still on his lips when a voice came from heaven, 'this is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle. Seven times will pass for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.'

Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled."
  (Daniel 4:31-33 – NIV)

Can you imagine how awful that must have been?! And King Neb remained like that until the day he turned his eyes toward heaven and acknowledged that God is the only one truly in control. 

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble. (Daniel 4:37 – NIV)

While this seems like an extreme example, we can learn from it because we have the same choice that King Neb did:

  1. Choose to believe that God, who is perfectly good, right and just, has all authority to lead and guide our lives.


  1. Try to maintain control of our own lives with our limited knowledge and imperfection. 

It may be a hard truth, but it’s an easy choice. It’s time to hand over the controller. 

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