Do you have pets? Today, I was thinking about how much joy my dog brings to my life. I love Elijah – my large, lovable, black, soft, and fluffy standard poodle. He is smart, playful, and he makes me laugh with his whimsical mannerisms. Just by living with us, he has learned how to communicate many of his wants and needs, and he has gained a tremendous recognition of many of our commonly used words spoken not only to him, but to one another. The only problem is he doesn’t always understand our words in context. For example, I might ask my husband, “Did you go to the post office today?” Elijah, hearing the word “go,” hops up from his nap, tail wagging, and eagerly runs to Jon in anticipation that they are getting ready to go somewhere. He is confused and disappointed when he discovers they are not. But you have to admit, he is quite intelligent for an animal!
Animals do communicate, and some understand much of our communication, but as amazing as it is, they are still very limited in their ability. Actually, humans are the only creatures God made that have the ability to communicate by complex language, arranging words into sentences and sentences into expressions of abstract ideas. For most of us listening, speaking, writing, and reading are skills we use extensively as we attempt to communicate our thoughts and ideas to one another and to our God.
God was not satisfied to just communicate to us through His creation, although He does do that. He came to us in the flesh as Jesus Christ to communicate to us face to face. He has and continues to speak to us today through His written Word – the Bible which He authored but penned through the personality of several of His followers. He also uses the actions and words of our close, personal friends and faith community members. This happens a lot when we need help to interpret various things He may be trying to get across to us when we are having listening problems. Anybody, besides me, ever experience stopped up ears? God also speaks to us through those non-personal relationships. For example, although we may not personally know the author, don’t we love to read books that display God’s redeeming love and power through the lives of fictitious characters that we can relate to? Don’t we experience God’s message through such? And, don’t we also love to attend those gatherings where our favorite Bible teacher unfolds the Word of God to us? Although God may use many different ways to communicate to us, He also speaks to us directly, up close and personal. God as Spirit communicates to our spirit impressing His thoughts within us. This level of communication is available to us because we are created in His image and made alive in Christ Jesus. What a marvelous thing it is to be in relationship with our Creator. We can enjoy His fellowship 24/7 – any time, any place.
I believe, too, that humans are the only creatures in God’s creation that have the ability to communicate on a spiritual level to God. We can communicate with Him – spirit to Spirit, without a single audible or visible word. How amazing is that! And, God always knows the intents and thoughts of our hearts. This is important, because sometimes we try to communicate and we say it all wrong. Sometimes we just don’t know how to put our thoughts – whether of extreme joy, or of anguish and desperation – into words, so we say nothing. When communicating with people or pets, this can be a problem – but not with God! We can rest assured that God never, ever misunderstands us. We can know He always hears our unspoken words; and, He hears even that which is hidden in the deepest depths of our soul. What a great privilege and opportunity we have as children of God to be able to enjoy intimate and perfect communication with our Father.
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).
INTERACTION: Just for fun, if you have a pet and a story about communication as I shared about Elijah, please share it with us. Then, every time your pet does that thing again, let it remind you that God always understands you perfectly, even when you say it wrong or are unable to say it at all!