L is for LANGUAGE
In Genesis 12, God used language to separate people so that they would do what he commanded them to do: spread out over all the earth. In Acts 2, we see the exact opposite happening, as God uses language to bring people together when the Holy Spirit is given. Language is powerful. It has the potential to unite and to divide. To inspire and to discourage. To wound and to heal. Language is extremely important. Our heart language is often the way in which we frame our thoughts. The language we use both reveals and clarifies the way we think about things. And our native language speaks to the deep places inside us, to our hearts.
Have you ever been walking down the street in a foreign country and heard someone speaking your language? Or maybe you heard a song in your language coming from a taxi cab or a restaurant? You were immediately drawn towards the familiar sounds and meanings. Maybe you turned your head and tried to figure out where it was coming from. Maybe you actually stopped what you were doing in order to listen. Or perhaps you even introduced yourself to the people speaking your language. Something happened deep inside you. You were energized. You were immediately engaged.
A few years ago, I met a deaf man in the United States. I assumed that English was his first language, his heart language. I was wrong. His heart language is American Sign Language. When he really wants to express the deepest parts of who he is, he uses his hands, his body, his facial expressions. He understands English, and can read and write it, but his heart language is American Sign Language. Imagine how my heart broke when he told me that he grew up in a Christian home, but his parents never learned to sign. His parents do not speak his heart language. And, he understood from them that their God didn't care about his heart or his heart language either. I began learning American Sign Language because I was determined to show him that God does indeed care about his heart, enough to speak his heart's language.
4,500 of the 7,000+ languages are still in need of scripture. That's over 1 billion hearts who haven't had the chance to hear all of God's words speaking directly to the deepest places of who they are. That's over a 1 billion people who lack access to something precious that we easily take for granted. For every language into which the scriptures are translated, how many hearts can God now touch through his word? How many workers are now empowered to carry the Gospel to new peoples? How many have a chance to taste and see that the Lord is good and that he cares enough to speak their language?
Written by Josh Davis, Executive Director, Proskuneo Ministries.
Check out Intro to the A-Z Series.