When Losing Control is a Good Thing

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly. Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly, I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” –Matthew 8:5-10

I went camping with my family and confirmed what I knew to be true in my heart…I don’t really like camping!

There are lots of reasons to support my disdain, like bugs, sleeping on the hard ground in a sleeping bag, and a lack of Internet connection, but the bottom line behind my dislike of camping is that I like being in control. Camping exposed and amplified that reality–there are just too many variables associated with camping to be in control.

When I began to think about my need for control, it hit me clearly that control and faith don’t co-exist.

My need for control demonstrates my lack of faith.

In today’s Scripture passage, the Roman officer understood control. He was familiar with being in control: control of others, decisions, situations, and himself. But no amount of control could heal his sick servant. He was out of control, and through faith, he handed control over to Jesus.

The officer came to a faith conclusion and gave up control. He recognized that he wasn’t worthy…but Jesus was worthy.

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly, I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” –Matthew 8:10

My guess is that Jesus isn’t amazed when I try to control and fix everything myself. Rather, it seems that Jesus is amazed when you and I give up control and by faith, turn it over to Him!

There is a lot for us to think about here, as to how we live our lives moment-by-moment and whether we will choose to consistently give up the pursuit of control and humbly submit control to the One who does everything well.

This is a goal I am going to work on. But, I’m still not going camping again.

1. Would those closest to you say that being in control of everything is important to you? Why or why not?

2. What is one area of life that you feel you should give control over to Jesus?

Psalm 37:5-6; Proverbs 3:5-6; Mark 7:37

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Doug Fields

Doug Fields is the senior director of HomeWord. He speaks to thousands of leaders, teenagers and parents each year. He’s also the author/co-author of 50+ books including: Parenting in a Screen Saturated Culture; Intentional Parenting; 7 Ways to be Her Hero – the One Your Wife Has Been Waiting For; and To Have and To Hold. In addition to Doug’s speaking and writing, he is also the co-founder of DownloadYouthMinistry.com and the youth pastor at Mariners Church. Doug has been married for more than 35 years to his wonderful wife Cathy, and they live near their 3 married children and 3 grandchildren in Southern California.

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