Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: TOWER (01/16/20)
TITLE: The Miraculous Lifting of a Language Barrier
By Laurie Staples
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“But they didn’t die! God said if they ate the fruit, ‘they would surely die.’”
“Well, they eventually died,” my teacher patiently answered.
There’s a horrifying picture seared in my mind from one of our Sunday school pamphlets that shows drowning people screaming to be hoisted up into the ark.
“Why didn’t they reach down and help those people?”
“Because those people didn’t believe God when He said it would rain.”
“But they believed when they saw it. I think those people in the ark were mean.”
I don’t remember getting a response for that one.
Then there was the tower of Babel. As a little girl I thought it was a fine idea to build a structure tall enough to get to Heaven. But God got so mad, the people couldn’t talk to each other anymore.
Of course, per the usual, I questioned the harshness. “They couldn't talk? They could only babble just because they built the tower?”
I’m sure I must have been a thorn in my Sunday school teacher’s sides. They probably never got through a single story without me jumping in with my questions and unsolicited opinions.
I was reminded of the story of the Tower of Babel when I flew with Maria, an immigrant from Mexico. She still speaks with a heavy accent and I struggled at times to understand her. It frustrated her, and it reminded me of God’s punishment for the tower builders when they could no longer speak the same language.
At some point, I asked her if she was a Christian. She said she was and shared her miraculous testimony with me.
When she first arrived in the United States, Maria didn’t speak any English. Though there were some fellow Mexican immigrants in her neighborhood, most of her neighbors only spoke English.
She told me of a terrible Christmas Eve shortly after they arrived in the United States. She and her husband got into such a terrible flight that the police were called. She didn’t understand what the police were saying, but somehow came to the conclusion one of them needed to leave or they would both go to jail. So she told her husband to leave, and the policemen left.
There had been a huge snowfall. Her anger and frustration wouldn't allow her to sit still and she grabbed a snow shovel and shoveled until her strength ran out. She had shoveled not only her own driveway and sidewalk but many of her neighbors' as well.
One of them came out to thank her, and seeing her tears, asked her to come to church with them. Maria understood enough English to understand their invitation, “Yes. I come with you.”
She asked her sister, who knew a little more English than her to come, too. When they walked into the church, they were shocked.
Maria told me, “I never see church like this—loud music, singing, dancing and hands waving in air. What? This can’t be church! I look at my sister and we start to laugh, but then I tell her we must be quiet. It will hurt my friends. For them, it is church. Then the music stop and the man got up.”
Maria paused, her eyes filling with tears as she remembered. “I understand every word he say. It was a miracle. It like he speaking in Spanish! He say how much Jesus loves me. My tears, they keep coming down my face. When he stop talking, he says to come. I cannot stay in my seat. The man pray with me. I understand his prayer, too.. And now I have a relationship.”
I got goosebumps as she talked.
“I thought I was Christian, but I only knew God, now I know Jesus. You know?”
“Yes, I do know,” I answered. ”What an amazing story! In your greatest time of need, Jesus allowed you to miraculously understand English. I don’t have an exciting story like you do, but because of my family and my faithful, patient Sunday school teachers I know there is nothing more important than me knowing Him.”
It is our personal stories that inspire and connect. God gave me the gift of Maria’s story to remind me He is still the God of miracles, and I came hope filled with gratitude for His faithfulness to meet us where we are.
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