Every time I watch the film(s), a feeling of utter panic comes over me as I see how each little thing Marty McFly does drastically changes the course of his and others' futures. I worry because right now, in my own life, I'm making decisions. Some bigger than others, some important, some less so. But each decision I make, whether it's being too lazy to get out of bed as soon as my alarm goes off, to deciding how to spend the next year of my life, has an impact on both my present and my future.
By not getting out of bed immediately and giving in to my body rather than practicing self-control, I'm saying that I'm ok with that being part of my future, and when deciding what to do with a whole year of my life I'm shaping what I will become in the future. The question that this always leads to is, is this what God wants for my future?
It's at this point where I become paralysed and decide not to make any more decisions about my life for fear of getting it 'wrong' and ruining everything God has planned for me. Seeing Marty and his siblings disappear from the photograph really made me worry. I mean, does the way I behave now really affect how any future family I have may turn out? These are the kinds of things that I think about (I mean, how ridiculous).
As a man in my twenties I feel the pressure to make decisions, it seems like all the big decisions come in your twenties and the horizons are portrayed to us as endless. The myriad of decisions, and the consequences of those decisions spread out before me like a wide open highway, but as I read recently, the reality is that 'when you consider your age, your situation, your gifting and training, the country in which you live, the economic forecast, I think you'll find that the horizon is not nearly as vast as you have been told.' This might sound discouraging or like a put-down, but actually, the options I have, and indeed we all have, are limited, and that is a blessing. Jesus said that broad is the path that leads to destruction and narrow is the gate that leads to life (Matt 7:13) and so having a more narrow path for us to follow is a good thing. It gives us a more clear path, one that we can actually follow.
How exactly does this all tie back in to back to the future? Well there's a part in the film where Marty gives Doc a letter containing information which directly relates to how he dies. Doc tears the letter up, claiming that it's not good for a man to know to much about his own destiny. He's right, but whilst the Lord does not give us the exact time and manner of our death, he does tell us about our ultimate destiny, heaven (we hope!). He also gives us the tools, people around us and ultimately his word and his Son to help us make those decisions and find the path. We, like Marty, just have to be open to asking for help.
At the end of his book Killing Lions Sam Eldredge offers us a few words that I believe we as men need to hear. I repeat this to myself often when in the midst of decisions, life's little crises and all the busyness of daily life. This accompanied by attentiveness to the voice of the Lord, both in his word and in prayer, and trust in him to keep you on the right path is the way to the narrow gate.
I am going to be ok,
I am going to find my way,
I am not alone.