Communication is one of the biggest concerns families have when thinking about the commitment of hosting an orphan from another country.  Just imagine… caring for a child for a month who has never learned English.  How would you know when they were hungry? If they are sick?  The reason why they are crying?  Explain where you are going in the car?  Calm fears about visiting dentist?  The language barrier can be very intimidating… nevertheless 100s of New Horizons host families have gladly taken on the challenge in the name of Christ’s love for a special child.

The challenge was the same for our family, as many others.  However, we did have a little help with my limited Russian speaking skills.  I was able to talk with Sasha in some situations, but certainly not all.  These situations could be both fun and frustrating.

There was a time when Sasha was trying to tell me something in Russian, he seemed kind of upset and kept pointing to my brother.  I wondered, What in the world could he be so upset about?  After slowly breaking down his 100 wpm sentences with intent listening and hand gestures, he was finally able to explain to me that my brother needed to wash his hands before we cooked lunch.  I worried that there was something seriously wrong, but he just wanted to make sure Brad’s hands got some soap-contact before he touched all our food! Smile  

The fun times would be when it was just Sasha and I out driving or somewhere around town and he would just start telling me stories in Russian… things about their dog in Ukraine, life in the orphanage/boarding school, or his friends.  Of course I rarely knew the definitions every word or phrase he used but we came to an understanding as I took great care and gave attention to the tone of his voice and the look in his eyes.

The more I faced these communication challenges with Sasha, the more I started to realize how similar these challenges were to the way we communicate with God.  There were so many things that wanted to tell Sasha, but could not find a way to explain; there were so many questions he had, but I did not have the words to answer; there were so many times that Sasha did not understand why I would withhold ‘good’ things from him, but I wasn’t able to explain that there was something much better planned for him. 

God’s ways are not our ways.  His way of communicating is so far beyond anything we can comprehend.  His knowledge and wisdom are far to great for our human minds to fathom.  Although the entirety of his wonder is out of our grasp, it doesn’t mean we cannot communicate or seek understanding with him.

What if we tried to understand and communicate with God as much as we would want to with an orphaned child from another country?  What would it take?  Just like I did not insolently insist on only speaking to Sasha in English, in a louder than normal tone and over-annunciating syllables.  I tried to speak to him on his terms, in his language, and he reciprocated and tried to speak in mine.  We used other ways of communicating: writing, translation through others, hand gestures, and thoughtful listening. 

What could you try to do differently to better understand and communicate with God?

And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
Luke 11:9-10 (NLT)