Not long ago I had the privilege of visiting Taiwan. I met a number of people who were followers of Jesus and almost all of my conversations with them had to be translated. I could see the sincerity and depth of their faith long before the delay of translation allowed their words to catch up with their message.
And then I realised the truth: God speaks Chinese.
Not only does God speak Chinese, he also thinks in Chinese. This is not English translated into Chinese, but genuine 100% Chinese (whether Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka or something else). God is fully at home and comfortable in Asia, and this was a surprising revelation for a Westerner like me!
In John’s gospel Jesus tells us that in the beginning was the Word, who was with God and was God. Through this Word all things were made – he is the genuine source of all life. That means he is in every culture and context. He fully grasps the meaning of gestures in the most obscure sub-culture, and understands the spoken and unspoken words of every personal interaction. There is nowhere beyond the reach or comfort zone of this Word of God.
This astounds me. He is immense, enormous, immeasurable. He is inside and outside of language, culture, time and space. There is no end to his presence. There is no place where he does not understand and feel at home.
So, the next time you are frustrated because people don’t understand you, or you feel as though you’re an outsider to someone else’s ‘more important’ world, take heart! The Lord lives happily in your world and makes it a place of value. In wonder and awe, take time to relate to him who is fully present and at ease with you. And whether you use words, actions or silence, know he understands. Because when you are with him, no translation is required.