Robin Gudal: Faith doesn’t require same language

Published 9:58 pm Thursday, November 14, 2019

EN(dur)ANCE by Robin Gudal

Robin Gudal


Have you ever been in a situation where you don’t know the language being spoken? You can’t interpret what is being communicated however you feel the emotion, the pain or the joy; possibly even being overwhelmed by it.

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I am not Catholic, and I do not know Spanish, but I wanted to be a part of celebrating a young gal’s life and she was both. It was a funeral. I was not sure when to stand and I did not understand the words, but I was overwhelmed because I felt the presence of Christ. I felt as if I was right next to him. The traditions felt respectful and honoring to her family. It was one of the most beautiful funerals I had been to and I didn’t speak a word.

A very good friend is Sudanese. Greggy and I have been blessed to be a part of the daughter’s wedding and graduation celebrations; as the above story, many of the words where foreign to us. Again, I found myself consumed with emotion. It was amazing, and they sure can dance! It was joyous. Have you ever felt that way?

Sign language is a beautiful, wordless way to communicate. My sister tries to use it sometimes, but when she was younger it didn’t catch in her world. She is mostly non-verbal. Don’t be fooled, though, if you know her; she can communicate! She uses body language, a few learned words and emotion to converse. Her smile is amazing and her hugs even better.

She and I sat side by side recently at church listening to a group from the local Karen church share a song. Yup, you guessed; thank heavens for the purse-size tissues. I couldn’t hold back the tears. I did not understand a single word, not one. Yet, I understood their praise and I sensed a closeness to the Jesus we both worship and serve. 

We Christians understand this from the truth of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:9 ESV.

“Therefore, its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

I may not understand other languages, beyond my familiar, or other traditions unknown to me but this I know; we who love Jesus don’t need the same tongue to praise and honor our savior.

Robin (Beckman) Gudal, intentional in life, is a wife, momma, nana, friend, and a flawed and imperfect follower of Jesus.