Inching the car out of the jam-packed parking lot, I headed home amid heavy Friday traffic. I didn’t know a love thief was headed my way.
Wanting to be a blessing, I had just spent three hours sitting in a hospital with a sick man and his family. But, as often happens when we open up our clenched hands and give God our time and schedule, I ended up being the one blessed.
Before leaving, I offered to pray. The four of us—the precious man and his wife and their daughter and I—held hands as we huddled over the hospital bed. I prayed…my words, spoken in their language, came out in stutters and simple sentences. I should have been better prepared. I should have practiced and at least looked up a few key words to incorporate. But I hadn’t. And now, I didn’t want to pass up the chance to pray for this sweet family when the opportunity arose, so I just plowed ahead.
“Our Father in heaven, please…help…give…health…”
As I drove home that day, I wished I had done better at the prayer. Good grief, I should be able to do a better job in the language by now. Ugh!
And then I thought of a verse. It popped right into my mind, interrupting my condemning thoughts.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Cor. 13:1)
“Jana, did you love them?” I asked myself.
Yes, I had loved them.
Language acquisition is important when living in a foreign country.
How can I share the things of deepest importance to me in a way that my local friends can understand if I can’t speak their heart language? But even more important than that, is love.
It’s my love for them and for Jesus that MAKES me want to learn their language.
And in the meantime, when I sound more like I am speaking in the tongue of some babbling simpleton, I can trust that the Lord will give me both the love and the language that I need for each situation.
May our desire to LOVE and to LEARN never fade away.
Pride that we DO know the language or shame the we DON’T can rob us of love in a foreign country.
What robs YOU of love for others?