Tuesday, March 6, 2012
2 Corinthiens 3:18
Nous tous dont le visage découvert reflète la gloire du Seigneur, nous sommes transformés en la même image, de gloire en gloire, par l'Esprit du Seigneur.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
I'm not sure what I was expecting when I arrived here in Switzerland four and-a-half months ago--cheese and chocolate, I suppose! While I have enjoyed PLENTY of both, I have found that my time here has provided just as much of a spiritual education than a language one.
Anyone who has spent any amount of time with me can attest to how difficult it is for me to remain silent. As my dad put it recently (I inherited the trait from him): "It's like a fire-hydrant is filling your mouth with water and it has to burst out!" While this is a completely accurate description of us both, unfortunately, many times I walk away from conversations wishing I had guarded Proverbs 10:19 "When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent."
Thankfully, we serve a God who is patient and kind, yearning that we become more like him everyday. In that process, He must burn away that which does not look like Himself- John 15:2 "Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit." While in language school, I spent many months understanding conversations around me without yet having the ability to speak the language. As you can imagine, this was extremely frustrating for a extraverted person like myself. It is much like a 2 year-old child who is able to understand those around him/her but is forever crying and screaming because they can't communicate their wants and desires--hence, The-Terrible-Twos!! I felt like a fire-hydrant wanting to burst, but knew that my foreign English words would fall to the ground, and my little French knowledge wouldn't begin to communicate my thoughts. I had an internal "Terrible- Two's" battle going on within me. I felt like the people around me NEEDED to hear "the important things" I had to offer to the conversation. It sounds dramatic, but it really felt as though my personality was being taken away.
But over time, the Holy Spirit took my times of silent frustration and showed me how to listen. Not only to listen to others, but to listen to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. It was as though the Lord said, "Maybe they don't need to hear what YOU have to say. Maybe you should wait until you know what I have to say." OUCH! There came a time of repentance, realizing that I more often speak without asking the Lord for wisdom or truth in the matter. I offer solutions to problems that are wrought with my own opinions and subjective truths.
When the time came that I was more able to speak the language, I was still like a child with only a fixed amount of vocabulary to express my thoughts. I had to decide what was the most important point, and choose words carefully and thoughtfully and slowly. ( I realize that many of you who know me are having a hard time picturing this!!) I had to spend time weighing my words, their necessity, and their truth.
I have come to realize that I currently reflect Christ more in French that I do in English. Jesus always chose His words carefully, and exactly--admonishing , encouraging, mourning, healing, and showing the way to the Father. There are times when I feel like the fire-hydrant still fills my mouth and I must speak, even in French. But I pray for those moments to be when the Holy Spirit fills my mouth with Gospel truth so His message of repentance, healing and forgiveness can go forth.
Being transformed into the likeness of Christ means recognizing the parts of ourselves that do not resemble Christ and asking Him to remove them. I do not pretend to mirror Christ, with the clear edges that make it difficult to tell the original from the reflection. But like a sea reflecting the mountains, I do pray that the choppy waters blurring His image may be stilled, so that His face can become more clear to those searching and seeking for Truth.
Grace and Peace