The other evening our family spent time on our back porch blowing and popping bubbles. It was a beautiful night to relish in such a simple thing. As we blew them, my son Lincoln popped them. Each time he would pop one he would audibly say, “Pop!”; just like that, they would be gone. Bubbles are beautiful in a way: frail, fragile, iridescent in the sunlight. Yet their wonder is fleeting, lasting only a few seconds (if that).
As I sat on the porch watching them pass by, I couldn’t help but think of James 4:14 where he compares our life to the fleeting nature of mist. I imagine he could have used the illustration of a bubble as well.
While we would rather not think of the transitory nature of mortal life, scripture reminds us of it often. In Psalm 103 we read:
“As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.” (15-16)
This is the sum of humanity: like a fragile flower, blown away by the wind. It seems somewhat macabre, and yet we know it to be true. How many have we known who were ripped away in the prime of their life? How many of us reading this have loved ones who were torn away in a millisecond by tragedy? Right now, many are worried about this very thing, for themselves and their loved ones, as a virus ravages our world. Life is fleeting and fragile—we would do well to remember this.
Yet, thankfully, this isn’t where the Psalmist ends.
“But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.” (17-18)
We are like fine china (and God remember this, v. 14) but God’s love is like an eternal fortress. In this everlasting bedrock of divine compassion, he shelters his people from our inevitable demise. Because of his love and salvation, we endure long past the pangs of this temporary existence. As the apostle John put it, “The world is passing away, along with its desires, but the one who does the will of the Lord abides forever” (1 John 2:17).
So, while I hate to “Pop your bubble” by reminding you of your mortality, I hope to encourage you by focusing on your immorality—an existence even more real than your current one. This future reality is difficult to see at times, especially in moments like the one we are in. Yet, we rest our hope on the one element we know has never—and will never—fail: the steadfast love of God.