Learning a third language is not an easy task, nor is adapting to a new culture for the umpteenth time. These are the challenges I’m facing as God reassigned my husband and me to the Czech Republic. We entered the acculturation process and joined the ranks of language learners a little more than year ago.
Recently I found myself crying out to the LORD in discouragement, “How will I ever be able to speak with folks on spiritual matters in their heart language? When will I get to share the glories of your gospel in the local context?” The Holy Spirit directed my thoughts as I began to ponder what it was I wanted to communicate.
What I Want to Communicate
- I want people to realize that God exists and is active in the world around us.
- I want people to know that God made them in His image and delights in them.
- I want people to grasp the depth and power of God’s love as seen through Christ.
- I want people to understand that Jesus is my Redeemer and LORD, my everything.
The face of a lady appeared in my mind’s eye, sparking a memory. I saw her again as she started speaking to me outside a busy store the previous day. I suspected she might want my cart since there weren’t any more available. I did my best to smile and act as if I’d understood.
Sure enough, she followed me to where carts are returned for a coin. I removed my purchases and extended my hand in a gesture to let her know she was welcome to it. She responded with grace and I understood the words of thanks she offered me.
Thank you, LORD, for allowing me to communicate Your kindness without words.
Whispering His Presence
Other scenes appeared: nodding toward an adorable child, holding a door for an elderly neighbor, patting the arm of a lady chattering in sadness, turning a commiserating look toward a distraught gentleman, and giving way when all the other shoppers seem to be ignoring those around them. The message surfaced. Whenever I head out from our loft apartment, I am proclaiming the truths I crave to communicate whether or not I speak.
Only the Father knows when I’ll be fluent enough in Czech (or in English or French for that matter) to verbalize the Gospel effectively. In the meantime I pray that while I pursue language fluency, He will continue to provide opportunities for me to whisper His presence in silence to those He brings across my path.
“O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you.” Isaiah 30:19