You're hanging out with a friend one afternoon, and they begin to tell you about this other person. How amazing they are. Their generosity. Their influence. Their kindness. Resources beyond anyone else you'd ever met. Welcoming and warm. Someone you just have to meet. And then your friend shares, you are on your way to meet them. The prospect doesn't just intrigue you, it excites you. Anticipation grows.
You meet. You open your mouth to talk - the foundation for the formation of relationship - and the look on this person's face makes you realize. You don't speak the same language. And there is no one to translate. The words that would build a bridge between you have become a barrier.
Imagine the disappointment.
Now, let's take it up a level. Imagine you've been told about this other Person. How amazing He is. His generosity. His influence. His kindness. Resources beyond any living being in the entire universe, because He is the maker of heaven and earth. He is welcoming and warm. Sacrificial. Forgiving. He offers a rich and satisfying life. He is the Someone you just have to meet.
Now, imagine, you've never been told he understands your native tongue. Imagine the disappointment.
My little girl Bella recently returned from Asia. While there, she was talking with a little boy who had heard some about God, and Bella was further sharing with him the gospel. And then, just in passing, she spoke of prayer. Of talking to God. He seemed puzzled. Bella described that he could talk to God in his language, because God understands all languages because he created everybody. Our God is a multilingual God.
This little boy's face lit up with excitement, "He understands me?!" He was transformed by this new knowledge that he himself, in his native language, could talk with God. A whole new world and relationship awaited.
Friends, we worship a God who weaves beautiful stories. He took a 14 year-old, blonde-headed Gospel-filled Jesus-exalting girl half way around the world to (among other things) let a young boy in Asia know He understands when that little boy cries out to him.
Missions exists because worship doesn't.
"After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
~ Revelation 7:9-12, English Standard Version