God Does Not Speak English
I wish I could tell you that He does. God. Speak English. But he doesn’t. Jesus is also not white, for those who’ve only stepped foot in the American church and seen pictures of a white man holding a sheep above his head. I have a pretty strong guess that Jesus was not white because, well, based on the fact that Nazareth people are brown today, they were probably brown a million years ago.
There is a great big world out there, and most of it is brown. And here’s a crazy thought: What does white mean anyways?
Those images are what we have interpreted at our very best to show the world a picture of God. But if you want to know what God looks like, look around. The woman at Starbucks that diligently serves you your triple shot Espresso every morning for the past five years. The overworked nurse that delivers premature babies by herself in an understaffed hospital and sneaks away to pray over them. The underpaid teacher that started this job to educate our future but is trapped in grading scales and test scores. The dad walking three miles to work in a field in Costa Rica to provide for his family. The children on the playground. The women still trapped in slavery. The juvenile delinquent failed by the foster care system. The homeless man begging for coins in the New York City subway. The politicians we can not stand. The lunch lady. The cab driver. The crabby boss. The paraplegic athlete that just blew through another world record. The neighbor that never speaks to you and mows across your invisible yard line. You name her, and him, and them—THAT is what God looks like. Does “made in God’s image” ring a bell? That means each of us have placed inside of us the DNA of the Creator of the Universe. And it is about time we stop picking and choosing who is in and who isn’t.
I came to the conclusion that God does not speak English because, from what I know about God, which is very little, I do know this:
God does not have favorites. God might give His favor to some of us in different seasons of life, but God does not choose to speak one language that is convenient for the recipient and leave out the rest. We are all God’s chosen people, and that is not up for debate for me. If God chose to speak English instead of let’s say Amharik, what would that say about His devotion to Ethiopians? I’ll tell you what it says. It says that Americans are more important. And that is not true.
God is more intimate than that.
The number 108 is a divine number to our family. If you know us, you know we named our organization after the number because the number chose us and has followed us for years. Or, more likely, God used that specific number to get our attention. To speak to us.
When my Grandma died, I wanted more than anything just a single pass to phone a friend in Heaven. I wanted to know she was there, safe, happy, and more than anything to know that I’d see her again someday. I could bare the pain of waiting a lifetime to touch her sweet grandmotherly hands again, if I just knew we would reunite. For the life of me, I could not feel her presence. When people die, living loved ones say things like, “I could just feel her spirit” or, “I knew she was there”. I believe that, but I struggle with that for many reasons. One, because if your dead pal is here, how is she also there? Earthly practicalities make me struggle to understand the dimensions of Spiritual realms. But also because I wasn’t hearing from her at all.
It wasn’t until I realized that God does not speak English, and your dead loved ones don’t answer the phone when you try to call Heaven. At least not for me. Can it happen? Sure. God can do anything. And I assume dead bodies but alive spirits can too.
God speaks the language of the heart. God doesn’t speak plain English to me because English is not all that personal to me. It is at best my method of communicating with the outside world, but it holds no value inside my heart.
You know what does? The number 108 when it comes to big and scary life decisions. Almost every big decision I have had to make for Mission 108, and life for that matter, along comes that number in my life in very obvious and apparent ways. Physical, practical ways.
My grandma loved birds. If you asked her today what her very favorite things in the entire world are, she would say cooking, gardening, being with family, and watching the birds. She was the exact definition of a grandmother because whose southern grandma wouldn’t say those things with a big ole glass of sweet tea in hand? Y’know? I’ve never been keen on birds. Birds are birds. They are doing what they do best, flying around, chirping, and somehow pooping on or around me every couple of years and sending me into a public panic. But other than that—who cares about birds?
It wasn’t until I started listening for her that I realized she is sending me birds. Okay, okay, I know it might sound crazy. And you know, I’m willing to admit that maybe I am. But then so are thousands of others because I know this rings true for so many of us. Every single time I travel, I am greeted by a bird. Cardinals, Blue Jays, Humming Birds, Robins, etc. Anything but those big nasty crows or black birds. Those don’t count.
This morning I heard a rummaging at my bedroom window and I thought OHHHMYGAH if there is a rat in between me and these walls, I will have to burn this rental house to the floor. I peeked out my window and saw the tiniest little birds nest. All I could do was smile knowing that God and Grandma were co-creating to show me I’m exactly where I need to be. Robbie and I have been apart because of adoption appointments, Mission 108 meetings, and I was making excuses for not going this season. Ultimately, I decided to go but wasn’t super thrilled about it. Until this morning when those baby birds were chirping at my window. I just knew, I am where I am meant to be.
God doesn’t speak English, because God speaks Brittany. And for you, God speaks your specific love language right into your heart. The fun part is figuring it out. Who and what rings true to your exact nature. And how God is teasing you with the rainbows, birds nest, butterflies, random number 24—you and only you will know when God is speaking to you. It is so flirtatious you can’t help but feel butterflies inside. But it is also so faint that if you're busy being busy you might miss it.
Sure we can blame it on coincidence, but what would be the fun in that? For those of you who hear the language God speaks to your heart, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s tempting to blame on chance, but when you have the courage to believe that maybe, just maybe, God is fond enough of you to speak your exact language... you just can’t help but see and hear it.
Wishing and hoping that this week, this day, in this very next moment, you hear God's language for you.