There are over 7,000 living languages according to https://lighthouseonline.com. According to daytranslations.com, less than 1 % of the world’s population is proficient in many languages. Roughly 4% are proficient in 4 languages. In the US, English is the primary language spoken, with Spanish coming in at a close second place and Chinese a distant third.
In high school and in college, we are required to take a second language. The language I chose was Spanish. I learned the grammar and the vocabulary, but I can’t speak it fluently. If I happen to hear people speaking in Spanish, I can pick up on the gist of what’s being discussed. It’s shameful, really. I took Spanish courses in high school and in college and in graduate school, but no course insisted on the students speaking the language.
How many languages do you speak? How many languages should we speak? Even if someone is able to fluently speak 4 to 20 languages, that barely puts a dent in the over 7000 living languages that exist today. However, there is One who does speak every language. You probably guessed it - God does! He is the Great Linguist, the Great Translator! And God doesn’t just understand every language; He understands the heart, emotions, and motives behind every word in every language.
We might understand a little body language when there is a language barrier, but with God, there is no barrier. Have you ever tried to figure out if someone was telling the truth or not, looking for some physical indicators? God knows when we are telling the truth or not, or if we mean what we say.
Even if people speak the same language, miscommunication may occur because of various nuances like slang, abbreviations, culture, mannerisms, and so on. Has anyone ever misinterpreted something you were trying to say? Or have you misinterpreted what someone else was saying? Among people, miscommunication or misinterpretation happens, and unfortunately, it happens a lot. But not with God; He understands what we say. And for believers, God even translates our wordless expressions and groans.
Romans 8:26 – 27 (NIV)
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
We need iTranslate or something like it, but God does not. Thank God that we can pray or talk to Him without fear of being misunderstood.
You know what? God amazes me! I know we say some crazy stuff, excuse me, off-the-wall stuff that’s downright incomprehensible at times. But He doesn’t dismiss us; instead, He listens to us and through His Word, reveals to us what we need to correct.
While the prince of the air (Ephesians 2:1-3; 6:12) may bring about confusion and mayhem in our communication with one another and with ourselves, God, as the Great Translator and the Great Linguist, is able to override his efforts with His Truth. So, while we may use tools to understand languages that are foreign to us or read books to help us to understand people, let us rely on God to help us communicate with Him through prayer and with one another across all language barriers and cultural barriers in ways that bring Him glory. I don’t mean that we will just have fuzzy-wuzzy conversations but that we will yield to handling every conversation, miscommunication, and misinterpretation His Way, employing His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17) as it transcends every language, dialect, culture, and every other nuance thus helping us to be in step with His kingdom and His way of doing and being right (Matthew 6:33 AMP). (And yes, this is a super, duper run-on sentence. Please excuse this time.)