Have you ever been in a situation when you were at an absolute loss for words? Perhaps it was when you saw your child in their first school or church play, or maybe their first musical recital. Maybe you were left speechless when friends threw a surprise party for you. With most of us there have been occasions in our lives when words simply escaped us. For me it was the moment I realized how in love I was with the lady who would soon be my wife. I have always loved writing and thought I possessed a fair mastery of the English vernacular, that is until I tried to put into words the depth of emotions I was feeling for her. Yes, I wrote her a poem or two-even had one of them published in a poetry anthology. But even with that, I still felt I could not come up with adequate words to express my love for her. After seventeen years of marriage I am only more aware of this observation.
As much as I love my wife, imagine with me if you can how much more of a challenge I have in approaching God. There are no words to describe the challenge of having no words! After all, one can’t even describe God. When He sent Moses to rescue the children of Israel, Moses asked Him “who should I tell them is sending me?” God replied “tell them my name is I Am”. I almost believe even God couldn’t describe Himself in a way that we would understand. I Am pretty much covers it all with an infinite number of fill-in-the-blank descriptions. There are no textbook definitions that are remotely adequate to express the person and deity of God.
So if we can’t even find words to describe God, then how can we possibly find words to express our loving response to an indescribable God? It can’t be done. There are no words. Oh many have tried-the writings of the early church fathers are masterful and the hymns written over the centuries have moved us to tears when reflecting on all we know and don’t know about God. Yet all who have tried have come up short in their attempts. The created can’t capture in human language the Creator.
When you are with someone you truly love there are those times when just being in their presence is enough. Love is shared and expressed at times when words would get in the way. How cool is it that we can approach God with the confidence of knowing the same holds true for us. In our intimate prayer or reflection time with God we can be assured that God sees our hearts and knows our deepest thoughts so that are linguistic inadequacies are not an issue. We are told in scripture that there are times when His spirit in us prays for us in groans that need no words. There is dialogue between our inner spirit and God’s heart that we wouldn’t understand even if it were somehow audible. Thou shouldest not have need of expressing thyself to the Almighty with Shakespearean prose thou canst comprehend or a language thou knoweth not of!
With people we may feel at a loss in trying to relay to them the depths of our emotions, but with God, there is no shortage of understanding even when there are no words.
Father, let my words be few.