I’m pretty sure that everybody, at some point in their lives, has gotten a gumball from a gumball machine. It’s just one of those things that you’ve got to try at least once, especially since it’s so cheap and the colors are so tantalizing. But in case you haven’t ever tried it, let me try to explain it. You put a quarter in the slot; turn the knob, then wait in anticipation as the machine spits out your gumball. It’s exciting to see if you’ll get your favorite color, and it’s a rush of pure joy if you do. But sometimes you get a color you’re really not a fan of, or maybe your gumball comes out all dented and chipped instead of perfectly round and beautiful.


If you’re like me, you’ll still eat the gumball no matter what shape it’s in and no matter what color you get. Because, hey, I spent that twenty-five cents and I’m sure not going to waste it. Even if I don’t get exactly what I was hoping for, I still make the most of that gumball and chew it until all the flavor is gone. Usually, they are too big for my mouth and make me look silly while I chomp away, but it’s a fun experience and definitely worth the money, in my opinion.

Recently, as I was thinking about gumball machines, I realized that they are very symbolic of life. We each get one chance at living, and we all have high hopes for what our lives will look like. We dream about the perfect job, the perfect spouse, the perfect house, the perfect kids, the perfect friends, etc. But sometimes, kind of like the gumballs, what we get isn’t exactly what we were expecting. Sometimes we’re handed difficulties, hardships, and painful situations that don’t match up with our hopes and dreams. Sure, some people seem to get exactly what they want all the time. But in reality, we all have disappointments and setbacks and broken hearts at some time or another.


But the beautiful thing about life is that we can choose to make the most of it no matter what. Even if we don’t get our perfect “gumball,” we can still enjoy the life we’re given. We can still squeeze every ounce of flavor out of it. We can still be grateful and happy.


God purposely gives each of us a unique and different life because He loves diversity. You might look at your life compared to someone else’s and think God gave them the better gumball. Maybe you wish you could demand a refund or an exchange. But your life is beautiful just the way it is, and it’s up to you to choose joy and thankfulness. You can hope for perfection and be disappointed in anything less, or you can embrace what you’re given and make your life count.


Every gumball has potential, and so do you. Don’t be so busy comparing your life to others’ lives so that you miss out on its beauty. And don’t forget that God doesn’t make mistakes. The life He gave you is the one He wants you to have. Make the most of it!


“‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’”


John 10:10

Life is Like a Gumball
by Kaelin Scott

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