May 26, 2010
Do you ever wonder what language we’ll be speaking on that Day when we are resurrected with the rest of God’s people?
In my last blog post I wrote about the tensions and joys of being a Bilingual. Some multilinguals describe their most dominant language as their “heart language”. It’s an apt description as it expresses the form taken by what most naturally gushes out of one’s heart. It’s the language you gravitate to when you are angry, or frustrated, or tired, or the language you use to share the most vulnerable part of who you are.
My heart language was Chinese, as it was the only language I knew until the age of 10. At the age of 12, God, in His grace and mercy, took a hold of my heart and has held it ever since. I was a missionary convert. Missionaries came to Taiwan and shared the gospel with me in Taiwan. My first Bible Study and my first Christian community were all based in English, my second language. I was also schooled in English and my worldview began to form in this Christian, English environment. The soil upon which my faith took root was English soil and the water that nourished that young believer was the western context. I could no longer integrate my “heart language” and my Chinese-ness into my new faith and the only way to cope with that was to split my life into two: the old Chinese, unsaved me, and the new, born-again, English-speaking me.
But I understand things now that I could not have understood as a teenager and a new believer. And what I know, is how God had called me to be His child in His Family that stretches across ethnicities, gender, cultures, and language. And that He shaped me in my Chinese mother’s womb and gave me a Chinese family to be steward over my formative years. When I became a part of this big Family, I was not to lose my Chinese-ness, but that He had come to make my Chinese-ness even more fully Chinese. Surely this is why when I sing Chinese praise songs my heart feels so full. Because God, in His grace and mercy, took a hold of my heart-language and culture, and affirms it by saying listen. Listen to your Chinese brother, or sister, create these beautiful lyrics so you can worship Me with all of who I’ve created you to be.
It rocks to be part of God’s Big Family.