The Elevator and the Illusion of Control

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Have you ever gotten into an elevator, and decided you were going to get going quickly by pressing on the door “close” button? And after a few attempts, you find that it closes anyway? If an engineer tells you it was a waste of time to keep pressing the elevator button all the time, what would you say? Would you say the manufacturer made an error? Or would you try to understand why it is fruitless to press the button repeatedly?

We feel we are in control even when we are not!

With all the advances of modern technology, we’re apt to think that we really do control our world. The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 has shattered the illusion of control that our human political, financial or medical institutions.

It is all a type of the placebo effect. When you want the elevator to close quickly, you feel you have “done something” positive if you keep pressing the close button. Even if you knew the truth that it makes no difference, you would still want to “help” the elevator close sooner! It is a quirk of our human nature called the Illusion of Control. We feel we are in control even when we are not!

The Americans with Disabilities Act stipulates that the elevator doors will remain open for a certain period of time, no matter what you do. So manufacturers have made elevators with a button that will not work for you. The specified time it remains open is to allow time for disabled people to enter the elevator without the door closing on them. (Only emergency and elevator technicians can bypass this rule using a special key).

Poking God for Answers 

Do you find yourself “poking” at buttons trying to get God to answer you immediately instead of in His time? More often than not, His “slow” answer to our praying for immediate answers frustrates us, and we get impatient, much like the elevator button.

What about eternity?

God created the world we live in by speaking it into existence. The term “ex nihilo” is the term which means “out of nothing”. Genesis 1:1 states “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Hebrew word for create is “bara”, which essentially means to create “out of nothing”. 

This unique word “bara” is used of God’s creation (Isaiah 65:17, Psalm 51:10).

When God formed man out of the dust of the earth, the word “yatsar” is used.  This word means to make things using existing materials. Human beings have made great progress in the last hundred years making new things. But every new human innovation has been made using what is available in creation.

We can now understand that there will be times when we cannot push the boundaries or make something beyond what the Maker has ordained. He controls everything by His sovereign will.

Think about our lives. 

Modern medicine is seeking to extend human life by inventing modern medical techniques, medicine and other innovations. Yet, while more people may live longer lives, you will be hard pressed to find a handful who live past 100 plus years. We are pushing the “buttons” of medicine, but we cannot create new or extended life. Our fallibility remains unchanged. We will die and then comes our eternal destiny, with God or without Him.

This Illusion of Control comes because we have forgotten Who is really in control!

By not acknowledging God, human beings are becoming flustered, anxious and depressed about life, as they realize they do not have control. It is frightening when a person comes to the realization that they have no idea why they are here or where they are going!

And yet, most are not willing to put their lives in the hands of the God who created them, the same God who can create a new heart within them (Ps 51:10).

God can create a new heart in you – a new YOU! Today!

“Bara” is used again in Psalm 51:10. David in this Psalm asks God to “create” a new heart in him. 

Today God will create a new heart in us, if we give up our illusion of control and self-reliance. We must realize we are not in control, and that we are separated from God. We need to come to Him in faith and repentance. We need to repent of our sin, believing that Jesus paid for our sins on the Cross.  We accept Jesus as our Lord, and we give Him control. We live daily in His presence, allowing Him to direct us.

Only God can do it

Ask God today to reveal Himself to you. Repentance includes giving up control and hearing God speak.  If God is convicting you of your sin, you can be sure that He will forgive you. 

If so, you can adapt David’s Psalm 51 prayer of repentance to your own situation. And ask Jesus into your life as Lord and Saviour today

Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. 

1 Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. 2 Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. 3 For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. 

4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. 5 For I was born a sinner–yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. 6 But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there. 

7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me–now let me rejoice. 9 Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. 

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.

Next Step

If you have prayed the prayer of repentance, please contact a Christian friend or pastor for what further steps you can take. It is important that you connect with a group of believers in a Bible-believing church.

Amen Bp Dr Raj

Please contact us if God is speaking to you today about repentance and believing in Jesus for salvation.

What is the Gospel

Rt Rev. Dr Joshua Raj accepted Jesus as Saviour in medical school. He has a passion for preaching and teaching, and to share God’s word with those who do not know Christ. He holds a postgraduate theology degree and was ordained in 2002 and consecrated bishop in 2009 . He blogs at the Sword and Scalpel Reflections.


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