As a child, I was fascinated by soap bubbles. I’m sure many of you were as well. It was exciting to dip a wand in the soap, wave it in the air, and then see how many bubbles I could make. They really looked neat, especially when the bubbles glistened in the sunlight.
I could spend a long time being mesmerized by the floating bubbles, but I could never capture one. As soon as I touched it, it would disappear. That happened every single time.
I think you will agree that life is often like chasing soap bubbles. We often find ourselves reaching out for that next thing that we hope will make our lives complete. For example we may tell ourselves: life will be good if we can just finish school, or if we can just get a good job, or if we can just find a loving companion, or if we can just get healthy, or you can add your own “what if” here: ____________.
As long as we have some hope that things might get better, we are less likely to panic. Life may be hard, hurtful, even discouraging, but as long as we can see something promising out in the future, we can usually grit our teeth and get through it.
I think that is why so many people purchase lottery tickets. They know that the odds of winning big money are almost non-existent. Picking 6 numbers from just 49 numbers doesn’t sound impossible, but the chances of winning that jackpot are 1 in 13,983,816. That’s 1 chance in almost 14 million. Even knowing how unlikely winning is, many still buy lottery tickets because the word “chance” carries at least a glimmer of hope for the future. Who knows, maybe you will be the next big winner, right? Reality is that those lottery tickets are just setting you up for more discouragement.
There are times, too, when life just knocks the wind out of us. What about when we feel like life is offering us nothing but empty soap bubbles? What do we do when our hope is almost gone and we feel vulnerable?
Money is important, but it is not the answer. “Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings like an eagle that flies toward the heavens” (Proverbs 23:4–5).
Just imagining that life will get better doesn’t work either. That saying, “If you dream it, you can do it,” just isn’t true. Notice how beautifully the Bible explains it, “It will be as when a hungry man dreams— And behold, he is eating; But when he awakens, his hunger is not satisfied, or as when a thirsty man dreams— And behold, he is drinking, but when he awakens, behold, he is faint and his thirst is not quenched….” (Isaiah 29:8).
This world promises many different things that are supposed to make us feel complete, but in the end, they always prove to be nothing more than glistening soap bubbles. That’s why God warns us: “Let no one deceive you with empty words…” (Ephesians 5:6).
We can find the key to lasting satisfaction when we humbly surrender ourselves to the One who made us. “Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture” (Psalm 100:3). We must be willing to abandon what we think will give us hope and trust the Lord for the lasting hope that only He can offer.
That is why Jesus invites us to, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). The early Christian leader Augustine put it this way, “Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.”
The challenge is to remember that everything in this world is temporary. We can’t “see” God, but when we surrender to Christ we will “see” what is really important and what will still matter 100 years from now. That happens as “we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
Soap bubbles are beautiful, but their excitement is temporary. British pastor Charles Spurgeon said that until a person comes to Christ, they “… never look upon religion as a joyful thing; to them it is service, duty, or necessity, but never pleasure or delight. If they attend to religion at all, it is either because of what they might get or because they are afraid of the consequences of neglect.”
Followers of Jesus Christ can experience happiness that won’t fade like those soap bubbles. The Lord promises His followers that He “is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” (Jude 24).