Do you speak a foreign language? I wish I did; however, I took Latin in high school and wasn’t required to take a foreign language in college. I learned basic American Sign Language so I could have hearing impaired students mainstreamed into my classroom, but that’s as close to speaking another language as I got.
This Sunday our pastor was teaching from Acts 2 when I had an epiphany. I can speak a foreign language of sorts. In Acts 2:4-8 says,
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?”
Many times this segment of Scripture gets glossed over when teaching on Acts 2 because the focus of most messages is on being filled with the Holy Spirit, which is a powerful message. However, the Lord drew my attention to the fact that believers were speaking a foreign language so others could understand their message. God enabled them to speak in a way the foreigners grasped the message of Christ and turned towards Him. That’s when I realized God does this in my life on a daily basis. I speak a foreign language and didn’t even know it.
How? I spend a lot of time working with survivors of human sex trafficking. These young ladies have been through hell and back and they speak a different language than I do. It is only through God’s grace, love, and mercy I’m able to meet them where they are and convey the message of Christ in terms they understand. The whole concept is foreign to them, based on their circumstances, and I don’t know how to begin, yet when I surrender to Him and allow Him to speak through me, it’s like speaking to them in their language.
I will never forget what one Hope had to say to me:
Miss Susan, when we first met you we thought you were a Jesus freak. Now that we know you, we know you’re a Jesus freak, but you’re a cool one.”
The same can be said of you anytime you reach out to minister to anyone who has come from a different walk of life that you’re living. We all encounter people who say,
You wouldn’t understand, because you’ve not lived a life like mine.”
But by God’s grace and intervention into the situation, we can speak their language and share the love of Christ with them. It’s how we’re able to minister in prisons, to cancer patients, the homeless, to people who’ve gone through divorce, financial ruin, the death of a child, or any other hardship we’ve never experienced. God enables us to speak a foreign language and connect on a basic level.
What foreign land does God have you ministering in right now? How has He used you to speak a foreign language to offer hope and healing to one who has lived in a place you’ve never ventured?