“Now the whole earth had one language and one speech…But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, ‘Indeed the people are one and they all have one language and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language that they may not understand one another's speech.’” Genesis 11:1, 5-7
I am not sure if you noticed a subtle change I made to my blog yesterday, that is if you have the habit of checking in once a day. Up in the top left corner of the page you will now find a “translate” button that allows you to pick from one of the available languages to allow it to convert the text of my blog into the language you prefer. What an amazing way to reach beyond my limited language impediment of only knowing how to speak English and share the lessons God has laid on my heart with my brothers and sisters in Christ who speak languages other than mine.
Genesis shares the story of how mankind came to speak so many different languages – as a means to keep the people from uniting and building up a front against God. But what about those who have a heart for God and want to cross the boundaries of speech to glorify Him? This week-end I had the privilege not only to hear about how God allows His people to cross those language barriers, I was also witness to the work of God - seeing first-hand how He orchestrates for His people to not be encumbered by hindrances like the fact they speak different languages.
This week-end we have had the honor of hosting a missionary couple from the Dominican Republic in our guest house. Unfortunately we speak very little Spanish and they speak very little English. I know that in our lack of ability to communicate there is so much we could share about how God is working in both of our families that we just can’t because of the language barrier. But fortunately a month before we even knew this couple was coming to stay with us, God had worked out that some friends of ours who pastor a Spanish church were to join us for dinner the night of the missionary couple arrived. What a blessed night we experienced in seeing these two couples, who were bonded by language, share with each other their love for Jesus and the love of the ministry they share in two different countries.
Moreover, the following morning our church hosted a morning coffee to welcome this missionary couple. At this coffee a man from our church who also spoke Spanish, which he learned from his childhood in Cuba, was able to translate for us all and bridge the communication gap. Interestingly enough this man stated God had taught him how to speak English just by reading the bible. (A story similar to another missionary we had hosted at our church only a month prior who had learned Spanish in the same manner.) For me though, I learned about this great app – Google Translate – that not only have I been able to add to my web page but which I have also been able to add to my mobile phone and adequately communicate with our guests for the remainder of their stay.
I guess the point I am trying to get to here is that God created the speech barrier to confuse those who oppose Him, but He also has the ability to easily remove those barriers if there is a work that needs to be done to glorify Him in crossing those barriers or even removing them. Furthermore, speech is not the only thing God has allowed to confuse us so that we as a people do not glorify ourselves above Him. There are many other barriers God allows to block the ways of man. If we see those barriers as impassible obstacles just because they had been so in our pasts when we had desired for the barriers to be taken down for our own personal desires than we fail to trust in the fact that God can remove any barrier – any mountain – so that His will can be done on this earth.