Authored by Dan Roselle
In 2011, my wife and I visited Barcelona, Spain. We took a walking tour of some of the many narrow side streets that branch out from Las Ramblas, which is a main shopping street and tourist area of the city. While strolling, window shopping, and watching the locals around us, I noticed a tall, casually-dressed man stop in front of a small market stand. He pulled out various items from his bag and positioned them on the table as if he were about to sell them.
Curious, I stepped closer to get a better look. The man had a large, round shallow pan into which he poured some type of liquid. Then he pulled out a round wire about the size of a large pizza tray, and with that wire, he started making bubbles.
This “bubble maker” began to toss large bubbles up into the air above the busy walking street. I was interested to see how the pedestrians—both locals and tourists—would react to the bubbles floating overhead.
Two well-dressed, middle-aged women continued walking and talking to each other, never noticing the bubble above them, even though one nearly landed on one of them. A businessman adeptly dodged a bubble as he hurried along. A couple of student girls laughed and giggled as they poked at the bubbles that floated across their path.
Then there was a young mother, walking with her child, who appeared to be around the age of four. The bubbles had not escaped his attention. The mother followed her son’s gaze, glancing up to see the large bubbles floating almost magically in the air. It appeared to me that the mother sensed it was a learning moment for him. She stopped and gave her child the opportunity to enjoy the bubbles.
The child stared in amazement, watching one large bubble float upward and then slowly descend to the sidewalk and pop. At first he looked like he was about to cry at the disappearance of the bubble, but then he turned his attention to the bubble maker, who had already sent another large bubble up into the air, and another and another. The child, by this time, was smiling grandly. Soon his mother motioned to him that it was time to go, but as they walked away, the little boy kept turning around to watch the bubbles until they were completely out of sight.
This reminded me of the times that I’ve made bubbles for my children and their friends when they were young. The children would always smile and laugh at the iridescent sight and often try to catch them.
I remember a small child at one particular party who appeared to have not seen bubbles before. He was captivated as he watched the bubbles float up, but when he tried to catch one of the bubbles, it popped. He, like the boy in Barcelona, almost burst into tears. I called out to him and said, “Look, there’s more bubbles!” He turned to see that there were many more bubbles, and his sadness was quickly replaced with excitement. It wasn’t long before he was running after the bubbles, enjoying the experience of chasing them and watching them pop as they hit the ground. Then he’d come running back to the bubble maker for more.
Recently, when studying a particular verse in the Bible, it made me think about how bubbles are similar to the gifts that God has given us. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift, every perfect present comes from heaven; it comes down from God.”1 God loves to give us things that are not only “good” but that are fun, enjoyable, and cool. He wants us to be happy and to enjoy life.
When you think about the things you enjoy most in life, maybe your friends come to mind, those you hang out with and who make your life fun. Or maybe you have a blast spending time with your parents or an older brother or sister. Or maybe you’re on a team playing a sport that you’re good at and really enjoy, and this is very important to you. However, no doubt you have realized that some of these “good things” don’t last forever. There comes a time in everyone’s life when things change. Just like bubbles, sometimes things that we treasure float away or fade and are gone. We know that’s just the way life is, but that doesn’t make loss any easier to experience.
For example, maybe one of your closest friends had to move away, and you can no longer do the fun things you loved doing together. It might feel like that friendship is fading away, like one of those iridescent bubbles, and the loss can leave you sad, disappointed, and perhaps on the verge of tears.
When you face a situation like this, it helps to remember that there will always be more “bubbles” coming from the Bubble Maker. The bubble you just watched disappear isn’t the last bubble that will come your way; it doesn’t mean that all good things have been taken away from you permanently. God will always, in some form, give back to you what has been lost or perhaps taken away—sometimes making that replacement even better than what you originally had.
When we face heavy disappointment, we usually have a choice to make. We can be disheartened at the disappearance of the “bubble” (the thing that we loved or enjoyed) or we can once again turn to the Bubble Maker, who has more bubbles (something new) to send our way. If we choose the latter option, then we can continue to enjoy the life that He gave us.
Many times I have seen people get discouraged when they lost something they loved or greatly enjoyed. They focused so much on what they lost that they often didn’t see the new thing that God was giving them to replace what was taken away. So much depends on our attitude. Can we learn to accept our loss with thankfulness? I believe we can! It just takes focusing on the Bubble Maker more than the bubbles He makes.
God wants us to be happy. He wants us to enjoy life. He wants to give us good things. He has so much to give us, so many things for us to enjoy. However, it’s only when we turn towards God after a loss of something or someone special that we can receive the new gift He has waiting for us. It is only by keeping our eyes on Him that we can have that inner joy and happiness He longs for us to have. After all, only He knows the deepest desire of your heart, and longs to delight you, His special child.
1 Good News Translation.
Read by Stephen Larriva. Music by sindustry(CC). Copyright© 2012 by The Family International