The Butterfly Effect

Theme: God’s careful and intricate design of each one of us

Bible refs: Jeremiah 1 v 5; Psalm 139 vv 13-16

Similar clips: It’s A Wonderful Life (end scene)

Location of clip: 1 hr 45 mins and 14 secs to 1hr 47 mins and 54 secs

Film Description:

This is a disturbing clip and should be used with great care.

Evan Treborn blacks out at significant harmful moments in his life. Later on in his life he discovers a way to travel back in time and adjust these moments. Each time he travels back he tries to change events for the better. But every time he changes one thing for good, other things are affected and the change just makes the future worse. All his efforts to improve life for his family and friends just seem to be futile.


Clip description:

Evan makes one final trip back in time – he will make the ultimate sacrifice – he will never be born. He will die in his mother’s womb and thereby not create all the problems that he feels have ruined the lives of his family and friends. His mother is being taken to the delivery room when she suddenly cries out in pain. We see Evan as a baby in his mother’s womb – slowly he shuts his eyes. He is no more.


Both Job and Jeremiah wished (out loud) that they had never been born. Yet Jeremiah knew for a fact that God had carefully knit him together in his mother’s womb. God had wired him up in a unique and precious way. But at that point in his life he just could not appreciate how valuable he was. How vital his life was to God.

Job lived through terrible loss and misery. He was so overwhelmed by his sorrow that he wished his life had never taken place. It just was not worth the pain. However, not long after this he had a vision of God which brought him back to hope.

In the movie It’s A Wonderful Life George discovers what life would have been like had he never been born – and shocking it is too. Everything we do can draw people closer to God – and we often don’t realise the ways he is using us to communicate with others and affect their lives for good. Seeing the bigger picture is hard when you’re caught in the humdrum of every day life, in the boredom and frustration it’s hard to know that you’re making a difference. But you are. By being alive and loving God with the small amount of love you have.

In Job 29 we get a glimpse of the amazing things Job had done for God. If Job had never been born, none of that would have happened. We get a glimpse of this in Job 30, when the writer describe show life is falling apart becuase Job is temporarily out of action. We may have dark moments when our life seems futile, we may wish we could just stop it all, or turn back time, but we have done and can still do the smallest things which will affect this world for good.

We are often encouraged to aim for the biggest things we can do, and those who have done icnredible things are held up as great examples to us. But keeping perspective is important. The people who do great things are the exception. Most of us live ordinary lives, muddling through each day, and it’s in this mode, with our individual personalities and experences, strengths and weaknesses that God uses us, and speaks to us. Job meets God in the things around him, in the world that God has created.

It’s easy to belittle ourselves, to rate ourselves against the achievements of others, and the sytems of this world can encourage that through advertising and the like, cultivating attitudes of disatisfaction. We all battle with that that. But we are precious and vital to God as he made us. He wired us up uniquely and, though it’s not easy to hang onto that, these words and others from the good book keep reminding us that we are designed by a caring compassionate creator. 

Jeremiah 1: The Lord gave me a message. He said, I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world.” “O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”
“Don’t say that,” the Lord replied, “for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and take care of you. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Psalm 139: You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvellous—and how well I know it.


1. Have you ever experienced moments of great despair?

2. Can you believe that everything you do has the potential to draw others closer to God?

3. We often see our differences as problems, yet Jeremiah reinforces the notion that our differences are a gift. What do you think about this idea?

4. Do you know anyone at the moment who is struggling with life?

5. Did the clip make you think about anything else?

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