Wait! Stop! Don’t tell me! I haven’t seen it yet!
How many times have I said something along these lines, in a frantic attempt to stop someone from ruining the end of a movie? Seriously, it’s close to a state of panic at times. I always try to be careful about what I say, too, making sure I ask if people have seen a movie before discussing it in front of them. I would not want to commit this atrocity! How would I ever forgive myself?
A friend of mine argues for the “5 year rule,” meaning, if the flick has been out more than five years, people have had plenty of opportunity to see it, so there is no guilt in revealing the conclusion. I tend to disagree. Maybe they’ll still watch it some day, and I certainly don’t want to be the one who ruined the surprise.
Why is this so important to me? Knowing the end takes the fun out of watching, right? It seems pointless to invest the two hours if the outcome is already known. Viewers want to see for themselves how things turn out, not be told beforehand. For me, the adventure, surprise, and fun of the entertainment are, if not completely spoiled, at least dimmed.
So, why am I so different with life? The not knowing, the lack of control, the unexpected plot twists – why not embrace these too? At times I get consumed with the thought of dying. It could happen any day, any way. Then comes eternity, and I want to know exactly what that will be like. But, do I really want to know the details of it all? Wouldn’t that take away some joy during life? Why be so paranoid about ruining the enjoyment of a Hollywood production, and yet be obsessed with knowing the end of my own movie? Wouldn’t I spoil that too, by seeing the end first, by knowing the conclusion before seeing the rest in its entirety? Do I not trust God, as director and producer, to know best what should be revealed when in the story, and to write a script with the right ending?
Instead of worrying about what may happen in the next scene, I could enjoy the current one, and look forward to seeing where it leads. Instead of filling my mind with scenarios, playing out every possibility in an attempt to prepare myself, I can sit back and wait for the Writer to reveal things. Better than Spielberg or Lucas, He knows best what I should see now and what should remain a mystery.
Besides, while I think I am the star of the show at times, it’s really not about me:
And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Corinthians 5:15
All things were created by him and for him. Colossians 1:16
And as for death and eternity, Paul points out in Philippians 1:21 that to live is Christ and to die is gain.
So, while I realize I do have my part to play, maybe I should be less concerned with knowing exactly how things will turn out, and more concerned with trusting God and letting the movie play out. Grab some popcorn, and enjoy His feature presentation.