Scrooge and the Phantom approach a grave yard, and hesitation grips Scrooge. He wants to know if the future is set. I don’t think Dickens means for this to turn into some science fiction story about time travel and changing the future. Scrooge just wants to know if actions really matter in the grand scheme of things. It is more a philosophical wondering than a scientific one: “‘Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,’ said Scrooge. ‘But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!’”
Scrooge is well aware by this time where his actions are leading. He wants to know if circumstances are too far gone. He wants to know if a change in behavior can alter the lives of those he has become acquainted with through the Spirits’ interventions.
I also don’t think Dickens is trying to make some theological statement about God’s sovereignty and man’s free will. He is simple telling a story to show us that our actions matter. They matter today. And our actions today will matter in the days to come. If that were not so, would Jesus call us to repent of those things that are unworthy of Him?
Ultimately our lives are meant to bring glory to God, and God has placed us in our homes and neighborhoods and jobs for the sake of representing him well to others so that they may, “see your good works and glorify God” (1 Peter 2:12).
So what changes need to be made in your life? Scrooge’s visit to the grave yard might be a good opportunity for you to sit down and make some prayerful evaluations. Then let those evaluations turn into prayerful changes. And in the process make sure you allow others into your life to pray for you and encourage you toward those ends—for God’s glory.