“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them… When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.” (Acts 2: 4,6 NIV)
When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, every believer began to speak in tongues. This was amazing in itself, but even more amazing was the fact that even those who were NOT disciples could understand what they heard! The Greeks understood in Greek. The Romans understood in Latin. Everyone understood in their own language.
Is it possible that the disciples knew how to speak these other languages? Not at all! After all, most of them were simple fishermen.
How, then, is this possible? “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 NIV)
Two years ago, we had the opportunity to visit Poland. I couldn’t understand a word of the local language. Fortunately for us, many spoke some English.
After an unforgettably, life-changing visit to the death camp at Auschwitz, we had booked a visit to the Jewish Synagogue and museum in Oswiezim. The only problem was, we couldn’t find it. We drove in circles, looking left and right, to no avail.
Finally we drove up a little road to what was advertised as a museum at the top of the road. We hoped they would be able to help us, but when a huge, angry guard came out and began yelling at us in Polish, we knew we had come the wrong way. Unfortunately, other than understanding that we should leave immediately, we had no idea what he was saying…
As we were turning the car around to leave, another guard showed up. He was the opposite of the first guard in every way. It was as if we had a literal Laurel and Hardy in front of us!
As the first guard continued to yell at my wife, the driver, the second one took me out of the car and led me down the road, away from the barking, angry guard. He spoke only Polish, but as he began speaking to me, I became completely astonished because I could understand him as easily as if he had been speaking English or French!
First of all, he told me to ignore the other guard, saying, in essence, that his bark was far worse than his bike, for he was truly a friendly man. Next he asked me how he could help me. I told him – in English – about our dilemma in finding the Jewish Synagogue, and amazingly, he understood me as well! He then responded in rapid-fire Polish: “That’s easy! Go down this hill and park at the parking that you can see from here. Once parked, turn left and then right and you will see the Synagogue.”
My mouth hung completely open. How was it possible that I could understand him? But then I remembered Matthew 19:26: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (NIV).
When I got back in the car and my wife began driving away from the angry guard, she asked me the understandable question: “So did he speak any English or French?”
I shook my head, still astonished by what had transpired: “No. He only spoke Polish.”
“Then what will we do?”
“I think I know how to get there,” I responded.
Both she and our son looked at me as if I had fallen out of the sky; and their amazement was even more pronounced when I gave them the directions that brought us directly to the Synagogue.
“How did you know where it was?” they asked.
“I followed the guard’s instructions!”
It’s then that we all realized the Holy Spirit had been at work, helping me to understand Polish for that brief moment in time. Wow! Our Father is amazing!
We entered the Synagogue right on time. Thank you Father.
The more we rely on the Holy Spirit, the more we will experience Him. After all, He is our guide at all times.
Would you like to understand Polish?
(To access the entire “The Witness” devotional series, please click here.)