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It is not a word that I hear that often, but I do a lot of it. There are many words that give the same idea: to think about, mull over, meditate on, dwell on, puzzle over, speculate about, and so on, but the main idea is that there is some incident that has caused you to pause and reflect. A prime example is when Mary pondered what was happening with Jesus. She wasn’t sure but she treasured the things she saw and heard in her heart (Luke 2.19).

The teacher in Ecclesiastes (12.9) “pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs.” It took time and a lot of thought. David pondered the statures of God and saw that “your commands are boundless” (Psalm 119.96). We soon realize that “Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them” (Psalm 111.2).

There are many things that we can understand quickly or with some study, but pondering what God is doing sometimes is not one of them. He works in “mysterious ways” to accomplish his purposes. We can start with the mystery of Christ: He appeared in human form—the mystery of the Incarnation; he “grafted” us Gentiles to become part of his kingdom; the mystery of our death and resurrection; the mystery of the Church; the mystery of Christ living in us; the mysteries of Revelation; and so on—enough mysteries to keep us occupied for a lifetime. And yet it is good for us to think about them—to ponder them.

Pondering can get us into deep theological issues: about the Trinity, Pentecost, Salvation, the Holy Spirit living in us, dying so that we will live again, sin, and so on. But the pondering will be worth it. It will also take us to practical matters, pondering about marriage, friendships, family, and our work.

Since Joice died over a year and a half ago I have pondered about our marriage. It is hard not to do when you were married just short of 65 years. At the very beginning of the Bible (Genesis 2.24) we are told that when a man leaves his parents and is united to his wife “they become one flesh.” Again, “flesh” is not a word that means much to me in that context. I like the CEV “the two of them become like one person,” or, as other translations put it, “one body,” “united into one,” or even “one family.”

I do not understand completely the mystery of how we were one person and how we were joined by God, but it seems to be true. We certainly didn’t morph into another being that somehow had parts of both of us. We were, after all, male and female, like God created us.

When the CEV translates the Greek as “become one” it seems to me to give ample latitude to the process and does not focus on an immediate transition. In many respects, it took time to become “as one” in our lives, including bonding our motivation, outlooks, and how we worked together. We had distinct personalities and backgrounds—different DNAs from our parents and all of it needed time to blend into “one.”

As I pondered: “In what ways were we one?” I came up with some answers. First, we did not believe that we should divorce, and the word was never part of our vocabulary. We really believed that we would be together until death separated us (“till death do us part” is what we recited in our marriage vows). That was a commitment that never left us—we were “one” in it.

Of course, when we were intimate we were one, and when we had children, we were one in a different way. They looked like us, and often, to our shame, sometimes acted like us (angry, arguing, etc.). You could see both of us in them, and it was difficult to pull out the respective spouse. They were one of us like we were one of each other!

We were also one when we read God’s Word and prayed together. We agreed on what to ask God for and talk to him about. Praying united us in a special way because Jesus was also there with us (Matthew 18.20). When we read the Bible or other devotional books, we addressed God together in our thoughts and contemplations. We did not always think alike, but reading together was a way of helping us to be one in our attitudes. We could discuss and even argue as if we were one—each of us usually knew what the other thought or would say. It was an example of oneness that went beyond us because it was (usually) done in love.

According to Paul, the big three for Christians are faith, hope, and love. With them, we became united as if one, in a manner that is mysterious, yet true. Joice and I had faith in what we hoped for, and how we believed that God would accomplish his purposes. They were things far beyond our individual capabilities.

I still ponder different things when I say that God made Joice and me one because we were so different on the exterior. However, God is a God of the impossible, especially when it glorifies him. Ponder that for a minute!

Karl Franklin


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