In the early 1980s, I taught 1st grade in a Dutch community in Canada. Because I didn’t know Dutch and the other first-grade teacher did, the principal purposely placed new immigrants in my class.
I vividly remember petite, blond-haired Janita who was shy and sensitive. I tried the best I could to make her feel loved and welcomed, but one day when I was telling the Bible story, she broke down and cried. I knew she must feel alone and overwhelmed. She longed to understand what I was saying, but how could I comfort her other than giving her a hug?
I asked my students if any of them could translate English into Dutch for her, and Jeffrey quickly volunteered. I told him bit by bit what I wanted to tell Janita. I was deeply touched by how he also communicated my compassion. Leaning over her as she sat at her desk, he rattled off in Dutch that it would be very hard to learn English, but we would help her all we can, and she soon would understand what we were saying.
I still see Janita wiping the tears from her cheeks with her hands as a smile of trust beamed at me. By the end of the year, she blossomed not only as a speaker of English but as a sweet, bubbly child.
I will always carry a photo in my memory of Jeffrey and how he interpreted not only my words but also my feelings. My God-sent little interpreter.
It brings to mind another Interpreter. Our Holy Spirit God. One who understands us so deeply that He truly empathizes with all our feelings. He knows how stuck we get sometimes. When words can’t express our feelings. When we feel so alone. Does anyone understand? Does anyone know how this feels? Does anyone hear our sighs, groans, and cries?
Yes! God does! His Holy Spirit speaks for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. He interprets even the deepest feelings of our hearts to our Father God. With endless compassion, He pleads for us.
"And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will." Romans 8:26-27 NLT
God hears. He understands. He cares. Deeply with a bottomless, unfailing, and compassionate love.
The Holy Spirit dwells within us to interpret our needs to our Father, but He also translates God’s Word to our hearts. In a personal way that we can understand.
As the Holy Spirit does His work in our hearts, He opens the door of HOPE. And like Janita, we can wipe our tears away and look up to Him with a smile of peace and trust that He is with us no matter what, He will help us get through our troubles, and He will someday enlighten our understanding of what doesn’t make sense right now.
Jesus said: "But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you. Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.] John 14:26-27 AMP
“Spirit of the Living God”
by Meredith Andrews