Years ago, there was a classical radio station that played the perfect background music for my study time. Their thoughtful announcer rarely spoke. But once every hour, he would share a pithy thought or epigrammatic anecdote. At the conclusion of his brief comments, he would pause and say in a deep bass voice, “Think it over.”
That announcer came to mind as I read Luke 2:19 (KJV), “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” Up to that point, Mary had been living in a whirlwind. Finally, she found a quiet place to “think it over.”
What things? How about that awesome private meeting she had with the angel Gabriel? Or perhaps she was thinking about the unexplained pregnancy of her cousin Elisabeth. How could all these things be?
Possibly, Mary was pondering about that recent difficult journey to pay their taxes in Bethlehem. Once there, she had to deliver her precious baby in an unsanitary manger. No mother would like that. And just when she thought she would have some private moments, into the cave came the loud and dirty shepherds. Are you kidding me?
So, when Mary finally found time for reflection, she reviewed all of these incredible interruptions in her mind and “pondered” them in her heart. It was definitely time to “think it over.”
The word “ponder” in Luke 2:19, comes from the Greek word “sumballo.” It means to throw together, confer, or to put one thing with another while considering the circumstances. In Matthew 1:20, Joseph is found pondering over the disclosure that Mary was expecting a child. And as he struggled with direction, the Angel spoke to him with Divine clarity and anointed revelation. Then, Joseph trusted God and responded as the Angel directed.
Sometimes, our situation in life is so big that we just cannot put our puny arms around it. It was true with Joseph and Mary. They tried to understand. But how can a human successfully “ponder” the works of God? He is too wonderful, too amazing, and too awesome for mortal man.
God helps us to understand the story of Christmas in Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV), “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Friend, perhaps your present life situation cannot be explained by natural means. Possibly you have complained to God, while shaking your fist in anger. Some of the best among us have argued with God. They demanded that God would explain Himself. Really? God has to explain His actions to us? Why not just trust God like Mary and Joseph did?
We read in Psalm 8:3(ESV), “When I look into the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him?” Face it, human. You will never completely understand the thinking of God. But know this, God loves you, and sent His only Son Jesus to save you and to bring you to Himself. How precious is that?
In the crisis moment of your life, can you trust God like Mary and Joseph? With the Psalmist in Psalms 145:5 they agreed, “On the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works, I will meditate.” Ponder. Think it over!