It has been over 26 years ago, but I still think of one of my first-graders as “my little interpreter.” Jeffrey was fluent in both English and Dutch, and he was a God-send when it came to reaching my Dutch immigrants.
I was teaching in Canada in a very Dutch community. I tried to learn Dutch, but except for a few phrases, I didn’t get very far. Teaching English to new Dutch students held priority. Because of this, the principal would often place the Dutch students in my class since the other first-grade teacher was also a Dutch immigrant and would too easily give in to speaking in Dutch to these new immigrants.
Petite, blond-haired Janita was shy and sensitive when she came to my class. I tried the best I could to make her feel loved and welcomed, but one day when I was telling the Bible story, she began to cry. I felt in my heart that she was overwhelmed with the fact that she could not understand me. I could feel she longed to know what I was talking about, but how could I comfort her other than giving her a hug?
I asked my other students if anyone would be able to help me, and Jeffrey quickly volunteered. I told Jeffrey bit by bit what I wanted to tell Janita, and I was deeply touched by how he also relayed my compassion. Jeffrey leaned down to Janita at her desk and rattled off in Dutch that it would be very hard to learn English, but we would help her all we can, and she would soon understand what we were saying.
Janita wiped the tears from her cheeks with her hands, and her smile of trust beamed a ray of peace to my heart. By the end of the year, Janita blossomed not only as a speaker of English but as a sweet, bubbly gal.
I will always carry a photo in my memory of little Jeffrey and how adequately he interpreted not only my words but also my feelings, and it causes me to think of another Interpreter Who interprets our feelings with perfection and infinite power.
The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. We don’t always know how to pray or what to pray for, but He intercedes for us to the Father with groanings that words cannot even express. (Romans 8:26) Even when we are wordless and can only sigh, He knows exactly how to relay that to the Father Who hears.
Reader, remember that no matter what, God knows our heart and hears every little sigh and groan. Are we convinced in our hearts of this each day?