I think we are. Life in the 21st century is busy, and incredibly noisy. Even when we aren’t glued to the screen, television blares in the background of our homes. Our smart phones call out to us all day long, telling us where we need to be and who is trying to get in touch with us. We have constant electronic access to the non-stop party of social media. We willingly risk a traffic ticket by reaching for our phones while waiting for a red light to turn green, because we feel the urge to fill even those 30 seconds with something, anything. It’s as if we were afraid of being alone with our thoughts.
All of this is toxic to the art of pondering. It takes time to ponder, and not just any time. Silent time, contemplative time, significant time, are required. That kind of time doesn’t happen by accident.
God’s word is clear on the subject, and in many ways counter-cultural in our day. Psalm 4:4 tells us to ponder in our hearts, on our beds, and to be silent. In Psalm 143, David ponders the work of God’s hands. Mary treasured the events of the birth of Christ, “pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
There is no doubt about it – God likes us to think, to contemplate, to meditate. He loves it when we take time to connect the scattered dots of our lives, to try to make sense of them in the light of His goodness. He wants us to think deep thoughts about Him, to turn down the noise and recognize His presence and His work in us and around us.
He is honored when we take to heart the advice of the old hymn: “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do if with His love He befriend thee.”
As I start my fourth year in the diligent pursuit of God’s gift of Sabbath rest, I find myself as motivated as I was in the Fall of 2011 – in some ways even more so. I began this pursuit in the hope that I would enjoy and benefit from the rest itself, and I have. But I didn’t anticipate how delightful it would be to see pondering become a regular part of my life. I’m surprised at how wonderful it is to turn down the noise, set aside the craziness, and let my thoughts flow in the direction of the God with whom I walk.
I didn’t realize how much I missed the ability to ponder until I intentionally set aside time do it. And when I did, I wished that I had started sooner.
Can I invite you to commit to the art of pondering? It will require you to make some changes, to become intentional, to turn off the TV and the phone, to close a door, to open your Bible, take a drive, go for a walk. But I guarantee you will find this a small price to pay in comparison to what you will receive.
Asaph said to God, “I will ponder all Your work, and meditate on Your mighty deeds” (Psalm 77:12). Wouldn’t it be great to be able to say it with him?
If you would like to subscribe and receive future Sabbath Thoughts posts as an e-mail, please click on “Follow” in the lower right corner of your browser window.