Chasing Remote Controls (click to comment)


One night when our children were small, I tucked them into bed, then sat down to watch a Blue Jay’s game. My right hand moved robotically to the bookstand beside me and fished around for the remote, coming up empty. I searched under the sofa. And behind the sofa. And inside the sofa. Nothing. Some spare change. A doll’s head. A cinnamon bun. But no remote. I woke the children and brought them to the living room, like a drill sergeant. “Kids,” I barked, hoping they would grasp the gravity of the situation. “I cannot find the remote control. It is gone bye-bye.”

Finding a piece of paper, I drew a rectangular object and scratched little square buttons inside it. Rachael who was two, pointed at it and said, “Ahhhh.” My heart jumped and I leaped to my feet. “Where?” I asked. She pointed to the door. “Outside,” she said. Outside we went. She pointed at the grass with one arm and held my neck with the other. I searched through the long grass. Nothing. I looked at Rachael. “Where?” I asked, with increasing impatience.

“Swings,” she said, in her most charming voice. I looked beneath the swing set. Nothing. “Sandbox,” she said. I sifted through the sandbox, finding lots of things. Disgusting things. But no remote. “In the woods,” said Rachael, pointing. I shook my head and smiled. A two-year-old will do anything to stay awake. I took the child back to bed, then sprawled out on the living room floor, bringing my head to rest on a small purple pillow. The pillow seemed unusually lumpy. I thrust a hand beneath it and, as you’ve already guessed, came up with the remote control.

My remote control experience is typical of so many of our lives. We search in all the wrong places for something that is easily within our reach. We hurry here and there looking for peace, never realizing that it will not be found until we slow down, rest, and set our sights on the right things. Jesus has some advice for people like us. “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:31-33).”

Let’s stop spinning our wheels, take it easy, and pursue God’s definition of success today. Chances are that remote control will show up, right when you stop looking for it.

Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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