“Control is an illusion.”
I don’t normally like to quote lines from Tom Cruise movies, but for whatever reason this line has always stuck with me from the movie “Days of Thunder.” It’s an early 1990 movie about NASCAR racing where Tom Cruise plays a hotshot race car driver named Cole Trickle who is positioning himself to take over for veteran Rowdy Burns.
The two drivers are crazy on the race track which leads them to careless driving and eventually a horrible accident. Nicole Kidman plays their doctor, who becomes involved with Cole after his recovery. Each time Cole drives a car, whether it’s a race car or his own vehicle, it’s always a competition. One afternoon, another civilian driver cuts him off, and it triggers Cole’s pride and competitive nature. He has a significant bout with road rage that leads to the line “Control is an illusion” by Kidman’s character as she angrily leaves him.
Most of us like to think that we have a measure of control over just about any and everything in our lives. We control where we go and when. We control when we sleep. We control what we eat. We control when and where we go to school or work. I never really gave the lack of control much thought until a couple of things happened in my life.
The first occurred in January 2011 when my wife was pregnant with our 2nd child. We had told our family on my wife’s birthday in January that we were pregnant. A week later, we visited her doctor to hear the news that the pregnancy was likely not viable, and we were going to miscarry.
At that moment, you realize just how little control over life you actually have. It is the Lord who has control over life. He gives life, sustains life and takes life for His reasons and in His time. There are very few words to say during moments like these during your life. It’s just a time to rest in the goodness of the Lord that He knows your thoughts, emotions and feelings. Isaiah 55:8 spoke to me.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. “
In so many ways it is comforting to know that life is not in my hands. I wasn’t meant to bear the weight of that, and I am honestly unable to bear that weight.
The second occurred in June 2013 when my family and I were moving to our current home. It was a hot and muggy Texas day in June. I had worked from sun up to well past sun down on moving and unpacking things in the home. I was about finished for the evening when my body physically broke down.
It started with dizziness and moved to the cold sweats. I had been drinking water and Gatorade all day for the most part and yet I found myself dehydrated to the point where I couldn’t get up off the floor. I army crawled my way to the bathroom to lose the rest of the fluids in my body and was physically unable to move beyond there.
It was the first and only time in my life where it didn’t matter what my mind was thinking, my body would have none of it. I was physically unable to control myself. After an evening in the hospital, I returned home feeling horrible but back to at least controlling my own body.
Control is an illusion. We think we have it, but the reality is that we don’t. The Lord controls our time. He knows the day of our birth, and He knows the day of our death. It’s truly a joy when you are able to come to an understanding of your role in life and His role in life. It’s life-giving peace that for some of us takes a lifetime to learn.