The 99Cent Store is, in theory, a wonderful concept. Until I go there for one thing and leave with a bag full of needless crap. A few weeks back, against my better judgment, I bought Phin his first set of bubbles. Don’t get me wrong, I love bubbles just as much as the next guy; however, I have grown wiser in my parenting over the years. The children who are old enough to actually blow bubbles themselves are usually not into them; meanwhile, the toddlers who are fascinated by them are by no means ready for such a task.
The fate of all bubbles in this household is the same.
The scene is picturesque for about 3 minutes. Momma blowing bubbles for sweet child who is enamored with the whole scene. Smiles and giggles and chasing ensues. Then said toddler gets wise and realizes that he should be holding the bubbles. After protests and attempts at patience on the part of the parental unit, sweet child grabs and drops said bubbles, spilling their magical contents all over the ground. And with weeping and gnashing of teeth, the bubble fun has ended before five minutes has passed.
It’s hard to be mad at him, namely because he is so darn cute, but also because I have my own fascination with bubbles. You see, I am a bubble chaser. I find myself spending large portions of my days, weeks, even years, chasing after elusive, fragile bubbles that burst upon capture, if they make it that far.
The bubble of perfection, the bubble of achievement, the bubbles of comfort and control. The problem with bubbles is that once you get them in your possession, if you are persistent enough to do so, they are terribly fragile. They pop so very easily, leaving you dissatisfied and chasing after the next bubble and the next and the next.
One of the themes that is laced through the New Testament epistles is that of the shadows and the substance. Paul wrote to his friends in the church at Colosse, about the shadows they were chasing: outward rules, moralism, legalism, performance.
Therefore no one is act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day – things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Colossians 2:16-17
You may not chase after religious perfection or adherence to an outward set of do’s and don’t’s like the Colossians. But we all have shadows or bubbles we are looking to and chasing after to give us life. It may be a new possession, a skinnier body, a spouse or a new season of life. The bubbles are as varied as those who chase them.
But the truth we need is the same. The substance, the pith, the marrow, the depth of satisfaction and peace and significance we are searching for is found in Christ. Paul challenges the Church at Colosse to put proper weight on the true substance, rather than on the bubbles that burst and the shadows that have no form.
Set your mind on things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed then you also will be revealed with Him. Colossians 3:2-4
I have taped in the front of my Bible a few prayers that I could benefit from daily. One of these treasures was taken from John Piper’s Seeing and Savoring.
“Fight for us, O God, that we not drift numb and blind and foolish into vain and empty excitements. Life is too short, too precious, too painful to waste on worldly bubbles that burst. We fear our bent to trifling. Make us awake to the weight of glory. Amen.”
I am thankful that in the midst of my constant bubble-chasing, there is one who chases me. Through circumstances and disappointments and popping bubbles, He points me from the shadows to the substance found in Him alone.