SPOILER ALERT: This post will give away some of the biggest spoilers in Endgame.
Iron Man: “You said one out of fourteen million we win, ya? Tell me this is it.”
Dr. Strange: “If I tell you what happens, it won’t happen.”
These two lines refer back to a conversation in Infinity War in which Dr. Strange reveals to the Avengers that only one out of 14,000,605 possible outcomes will end with victory for them:
(Start the video at 1:30 to see the relevant dialogue from Infinity War.)
Now, in the Endgame, Iron Man wants to know if they are on track to defeating Thanos. Instead of telling Iron Man the Avengers’ road to victory, Dr. Strange only replies, “If I tell you what happens, it won’t happen.” (I mean, Marvel is quite serious about keeping spoilers secret!)
At about two and a half hours, nearing the end of the final battle, the Avengers attack Thanos. One by one, Thanos squarely defeats them. Tony Stark looks at Dr. Strange and plunges in to take the stones from Thanos’s gauntlet. In one of his few truly heroic moments, Stark wields the stones without the gauntlet and snaps. Thanos and his minions disintegrate mid-battle, but Stark himself dies from the impact of the power that courses through his body.
Had Dr. Strange told Iron Man how this would end, Iron Man would not have sacrificed his life for the victory. Tony Stark is a proud billionaire who likes the comfortable world he has built for himself; he is generally not a self-sacrificial character. Only in the heat of the battle did Iron Man’s true heroics come out.
Endgame is a fun superhero movie, and the dialogue between Iron Man and Dr. Strange is meaningful even when confined to the Marvel universe. I think, though, that the dialogue can also bear useful insights to our relationship with God. In our modernized, Western world, we often like to carefully plan everything out. Planning is very important, and our plans must align with God’s. Sometimes, when seeking direction from God, we want God to show us every part of His plan for our life. How easy it would be if only He gave us a bright, neon sign every time we came upon a difficult choice! Sometimes God grants this; more often, He simply tells us what to do today. If we knew everything God had in store for us, we may not be able to accomplish it. God’s plans for us may be so great that we would not believe them to be real. They may be so tiresome that we would abandon without even trying. They may be so small that we fail to see their importance in the greater scheme of things. More importantly, if God told us all His plans for us in one great revelation, we might take things into our own hands and stop seeking Him. Our walk with God requires us to keep the endgame in sight while constantly living in the moment, listening for God’s guidance.