“Write the future,” says the new tagline for an amazing Nike commercial which aired for the first time during the Champion’s League Final. The commercial is three minutes long and is fast-paced, gripping, funny, and (for soccer fans) beautiful. The ad shows a host of soccer superstars either making it big from their play on the field or destroying their lives and their countries because of their poor play. From a purely artistic perspective the ad is worth watching.
The ad is funny at points. Wayne Rooney, England’s superstar, misplaces a perfect pass and loses the game for his team. He is “Roo-ined” and kicked off the team. The nation plummets into financial decline and there is rioting in the streets. We see him years later living in a trailor with a full beard and beer belly, eating beans. Meanwhile Christano Ronaldo is appearing on The Simpsons, getting all the glitz and glamor and even a giant glittering statue. The tagline “Write the future” appears right before Ronaldo takes the game determining penalty shot. The implication is clear: the future is up to you and I. You can be the superstar or the loser!
This is the common view of our personal history and future that most people have. It’s very humanistic at its core. The future is what you make it, and everything depends on you. This, however, is simply not the reality. Very few things in this world rely totally or solely on you. Soccer, in fact, is a team sport and no one individual loses a game. Many things in life depend on your culture, time, your family and your context. These are not things that we can control. Furthermore, from a Biblical point of view, while we are responsible for our actions and we are called to work and do, nonetheless God has already written the future. He works out His will through us and so our choices do matter, but ultimately God determines the course of our lives. As Christians, then, we believe the proper response is prayer and submission to His will.
It is, of course, not easy to submit to God’s will and to work and live where He places us. It means sacrifice and losing the glamor sometimes and gaining the unwanted fame other times. It means victory and loss, wanting and not needing, and seeing our desires fulfilled and denied. Often following God’s plan for our future won’t get us billboards and cameos on The Simpsons. But we believe that in the end it is far better. Jesus himself said that it was of no value to gain the whole world and lose your soul. And furthermore, he says that those who lose for His sake and His kingdom’s sake will actually gain!
So maybe you can’t write your own future, but the good news for Christians is that God is a better writer then we ever could be. And the future we have in Him is the real victory!