Do you know what these are? They are called onggi, Korean fermenting pots. We saw these in an historical palace and also in the patios and rooftops of houses and restaurants throughout the cities. They have been used for the last 6000-7000 years to create unique sauces made from foods such as red chili peppers, beans and rice paste, cabbage, soy sauce. Not exactly fast food, it takes months to prepare the specialty sauces. I think fermented foods demand an acquired taste and obviously requires much patience to obtain the final product.
There is a similar concept applied to thinking that also has been around for thousands of years: meditation. From the beginning of history, God’s people were instructed to meditate on His Word, day and night. To meditate means to think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time. Some synonymous words include: contemplate, think, consider, ponder, muse, reflect, deliberate, ruminate, brood, mull over. Meditation is not like reading the headlines of the news. It is thinking deeply about something, not unlike letting it ferment in your mind, breaking down the large ideas and letting them stew until you can absorb the richness of flavor offered by truth.
Like fermented foods, meditation requires patience and deliberation. We in the western world are not very accustomed to fermented foods or to meditated thinking. We’d rather go for a quick bite to eat and listen to 30 second “sound bites’. We can all understand this: meditation, like preparing a thickened sauce, takes time. And we are all so famously busy in this fast paced day and age. We might not know where our busy life is taking us but we are getting there so very quickly! Like the husband who says, to his wife while driving, “I know we are lost but we can’t stop now because we are making such good time!” We encounter problems and want quick and easy solutions, ones that cut to the chase. That approach to solving problems works with some things. But some problems and trials in life are more complex and require more complex solutions.
The problems of pain and suffering, disappointment, grief, injustice and feeling unfulfilled are not resolved by a diet of fast food problem solving. The more one has contemplated and meditated on God’s truths, the more one is prepared to work through these issues with a greater sense of satisfaction and acceptance.
But it takes time. And none of us can add a single second to our days. We have to choose how to invest our time. Choose today to remain quiet a little longer. You can do it. Let your thoughts ponder the wonders of God, the miracle of His presence, His unending love and His amazing grace, even the miracle that He created in you. Do this every day and throughout the day so you can be strong and courageous, ‘prosperous and successful’ in the things that matter most.
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9