I’ve never been a huge fan of futuristic movies…don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the occasional Star Trek movie. I remember where I was when I watched Gattaca (10th grade English class) and own Equilibrium (no it’s not as good as the Matrix and can’t really be compared to it). However, movies that delve into the future don’t always get my attention…I can be a tough customer when it comes to movies.
I think the thing that is appealing about futuristic movies to many people is the idea that they give us of what the future could look like, whether it’s over the top or not. We as human beings seem to want to know what is in store for us, either for curiosities sake or so we can be ready for it in one way or another. We live in a culture that at times is obsessed with the future, both as a community and as individuals. One example: open up the newspaper this week and take a look at the pictures on the front page. It’s Graduation season! There are ceremonies around the country happening this week that are completely devoted to the achievements people have made and the road that lies ahead of them.
I love graduation. I remember sitting in near 100 degree weather in a purple gown and cap, sweating my brains out but not caring because of how excited I was to finally be done with high school. I remember the feeling of achievement that I had and looking forward to what was in store for me. I remember seeing friends for the last time before we all went our separate ways and having multiple surreal moments where it dawned on me that I had just finished a part of my life that I couldn’t go back to. I can look back on my life so far and pull out certain days that I would categorize in my “Top 5” and Graduation Day would easily fall into that category.
Once the high wears off and summer starts you start to realize that while you’ve finished one stage of your life, there is a brand new one ahead…one that can be a completely different animal to wrestle with. Some decide to go to college (by the way, if you want to save money, attend a community college, get your AA, and transfer…you’ll thank me later). Others will pursue jobs or a possible career and hopefully take another step towards adulthood. Either way, this can be a period where we start to think about our futures and what we want to do with our lives, and who we want to be. Obviously, there are many things available to us. This still is the Land of Opportunity…you can jump on Craigslist to understand why. However, the “world” can only offer us so much when it comes to the future, and for many, what the “world” offers isn’t enough or isn’t fulfilling. For many, there still can be a feeling that somewhere inside of us we have an empty spot that can’t be filled by a job, a busy schedule, school, friends, family, or whatever we try to fill our lives with. For me, and many others, that’s where God comes into play.
Right now, our middle school ministry is in a series called “Does God Hold Your Future?” (see “6seventy8” page for more info). We’ve been asking questions and have been trying to discover what God has to say about our futures (both as a body and as individuals). Last week we talked about the fact that God has your future ready and is ready to blow your mind with what He has planned for you if you’re willing to trust Him with your life. It’s a scary idea because you don’t know what is in store for you…there’s no movie to show us what it could look like. One of my favorite verses from the bible that talks about the future is Jeremiah 29:11. It says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” I especially love the fact that God declares this…He doesn’t just say it, or mumble it, or yell it, He declares it. I think it’s awesome to know that God, who created everything and has seen us continue to screw up and fall on our faces, still has a future available to us that’s bigger than any college we go to, or career we pursue. His “hope and future” may be profound, powerful, and leave you constantly anticipating the future. It also may seem very normal, very vanilla. Regardless, when we allow God to hold our future, we are living in a state of faith, a place where we have surrendered where we’re at right now in our lives and where we plan on being in the future, and that alone is definitely not “vanilla”. There’s nothing normal about trusting God with everything. Not only is it abnormal, it can be one of the most fulfilling things we’ll ever experience. It can be the very thing that fills that empty space in our lives.
Dr. Seuss says it best. “Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places. You’re off and away!…Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV. Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t. I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ’cause you’ll play against you. All alone! Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot. And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on. But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl…On and on you will hike. and I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are…And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.) KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS! So, be your name Buxbaum or Bisby or Bray or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your Mountain is waiting. So…GET ON YOUR WAY!”