~ To meditate or reflect ~
Ever wonder what is really means to ponder on something? And I'm not talking about mulling an issue over in your mind until it becomes full blown worry. No, I'm talking about letting issues roll around a while in your heart and mind until you're sure that God has given you an answer.
It has always fascinated me to read of how Mary, the mother of Jesus, kept in her heart those things that happened along the way in her son’s life.
When I think of her I imagine her having a small box where she would place those things that she did not understand. And every now and then, when she was alone, she would take them out - handling them with her thoughts and imagination- and wonder what they meant. And I'm not completely convinced that Mary understood all that happened to her son, even when he was hanging on the cross, but I believe that she came to accept God’s presence in his life and the works that followed him.
I have learned from my own experiences that all of us, in this life, have or will have things to ponder that just do not make sense. And the more you try to understand the more confused your thoughts will become.
There are, as the word says, "mysteries of God that are beyond finding out." If we cannot come to an understanding in our hearts after pondering something for a great amount of time, we, like Mary, must place it back in the box and let it go; resting in the hope that God sees our pondering and will show us the answer when the time is right. If there is an answer. And perhaps that is the whole concept of pondering. We simply have times of meditative thoughts with no definitive answers. It is just simply what it is.
~ Reflection with Definitions ~
***The Strong’s Greek definition of the word, “ponder” means: to bring together in one’s mind, to confer with one’s self. The word “confer” reads like this: to consult together on some special subject.
***The word ponder in the Webster’s dictionary states that it comes from the Latin word: “Pondero” and means: to weigh. To weigh carefully in the mind: to think about: to reflect upon: to examine carefully, to think, to muse: to deliberate: with, on or over something.
Now the word, “Muse” means: to dawdle, loiter, idleness. From this word comes the prefix, to ponder. To be absent in mind, to think or meditate.
***The word, “Dawdle” means: to waste time. And the word, “Loiter” means: to spend time idly: to hang about.
***The word, “Deliberate” means: to weigh the consequences or results in the mind previous to action; to pause and consider; to ponder, reflect, cogitate or debate with one’s self.
Of all the explanations for the word ponder; I believe that I enjoy the word, "Deliberate", and the best. I tend to believe that this is what God does when he ponders the heart of man. He sees what the result of man’s end will be, before it even happens. This is how he knows our end from our beginning.
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.”
***We see with this scripture that even God himself “pondered” what is in the heart of man.
“For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.”
~ Meditate with Scriptures ~
“He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person. *The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men. *If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. *If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; *If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?”
“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. *The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. *My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. *Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. *For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. *Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. *Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. *Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. * Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. *Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”
“For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: *But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. *Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell. *Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.”
St. Luke 2:15-19
“And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. *And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. *And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. *And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. *But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”
St. Luke 2:28-35
“Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, *Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: *For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, *Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; *A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. *And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him. *And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; *(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
***The word, “marvel” means: an object of great astonishment; to be struck with surprise.
I think that the word "marveled" here is interesting. Jesus and the journey that he was about to undertake was truly an object of great astonishment. (Jesus being the son of a carpenter and considered by many to be unlearned, many marveled at the parables and questions that he posed to the scribes/Pharisees, doctors, fishermen, tax collectors, etc).
St. Luke 2:48-51
“And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. *And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? *And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. *And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.”
~ Consider with Words ~
We can count 6 ways in which the word “ponder” has been used in scripture.
**Ponder our “goings” (Every step that we take during every day)
**Ponder our “hearts” (What is hidden inside and what effects our emotions)
**Ponder all “things” (Every day happenings that fill our time)
**Ponder our “sayings” (What comes out of our mouth, whether out loud or in secret)
**Ponder the “path of life” (From our beginning to our end. What does God want?)
**Ponder the “path of our feet” (Are our steps led of God, or man driven?)
As we look at what the world is going through today: people are afraid of one another, road rage killings, financial devastations; parents no longer in control of their children and many raising their children to believe in everything but God; not to mention the wrong that is happening in the churches: the taking out of the alters from the sanctuaries right along with the 10 Commandments. Churches are becoming a law unto themselves by making up their own rules and taking up of arms.
Too many people are being led by their own way of thinking, being controlled by presumptuous sins and for the most part just simply wanting things to go the way that is easy. All over America we can see how making hasty decisions has opened the door for the ruin of our country, our homes and our churches. This kind of thinking is destroying the fabric of our society that once knitted us together with God's plan. The fray of any material is its ruin and when we don't take time to consider/ponder the things in life, we will pay the price. So don't be afraid to ponder, there is a reason for it.
Just taking the time to pray, to breathe, to meditate and consider can bring us closer to God, closer to His direction, give us back control over our own actions and bring us that lasting peace that all of us so deeply desire.