By Doug Inglish–Denver, Colorado … There is a saying in auto racing: In the blink of an eye you can go from a driver to a passenger.

That’s kind of a scary concept when you are in a vehicle that only has room for one! In one instant, you are controlling a technologically-advanced machine at over 200 mph, the car responding perfectly to every command. The next, you are strapped into a pile of scrap metal at a somewhat slower but still breathtaking speed, unable to stop, steer or otherwise influence where this hot mess is going to end up as it sprays sparks and combustible fuel over the hot pavement.

We have all felt that way, haven’t we? Hopefully without the physical danger. It happens in relationships, in personal finances, at work, practically in every part of our lives. One minute you are in control and the next, you don’t seem to have any influence over the course of things. It’s too late to be proactive, and being reactive doesn’t seem to change anything.

Usually, however, even when things go amiss, we have more control over the situation than the sudden passenger on the track at Indianapolis. That holds true even when a pandemic turns the world upside down.

You may have had your work severely impacted. You may have no choice over sending the kids to school, where to eat, or whom you can visit. And even if they let you go to certain stores, you might not find what you want, or be forced to take a brand you don’t like. One day you are driving your life, and the next day, you feel like you’re just along for the ride, headed toward the wall with no way to turn the wheels.

But look at all the choices we can still make. I would not choose to work mostly from home, staggering my office time with others in my department to minimize physical proximity. But with emails, cell phones, and Zoom meetings, we are able to go forward with less interruption than a similar office just twenty years ago.

I can have my favorite foods, even if not in my favorite restaurant. The shelves of my fridge and cupboard have plenty for Susan and I, and free delivery is available from a wide variety of places.

I talk to my son in Wisconsin, my daughter in Tennessee, and my father in Indiana, all by video, if I want. I may not see them in person for a while, but contact is so easy that we forget how recently it was that a long-distance call required us to consider if it was worth the relatively high cost.

And I do church at home. It’s far from ideal, but I still have that option and I can choose from an almost unlimited menu of preachers, from my local pastor to the well-known evangelists to the greatest hits of Adventist sermons from the past.

Even though schools may be closed, teachers are creatively working to keep our students on task and on track to finish their lessons by the end of the year.

So even in the midst of limited options, we still have a degree of control that is provided by technology, creativity, and our own will to carry on.

Let me point out one more choice you can make. It’s a very important one. Even if you feel more like a passenger than a driver at this time, you still have this option.

You can choose to keep supporting the mission.

That’s more important than what brand of sanitizing wipes you get, or where you get your take-out, or whether you choose this week’s sermon or a golden oldie from a favorite camp meeting. That choice has not been taken from you.

We are all experiencing, to one degree or another, a loss of control over many of the circumstances of our lives. Many are feeling the pinch brought on by this crisis, and many more will before it is over; that much is out of our control. There is no question that as the financial crunch comes to more families, it will impact The Rocky Mountain Conference. Believe me, we talk about that, just as your employer and your family and the school your kids attend talk about it.

But we members are not helpless. We are not totally out of control. We have the ability to make decisions of significant importance to our own lives and to the mission that Jesus gave to us. We can all choose that as long as we have an income, we will return to the Lord His portion. Faithfulness is always an option.

Doug Inglish, RMC Planned Giving and Trust Services director; photo by Rajmund Dabrowski