Have you ever been somewhere that you didn’t speak the language? Perhaps you were on a mission trip, vacation, or maybe even working an international business deal. For people to understand each other, one person holds a key role – the interpreter.
Interpretation is an art. The process communicates the meaning of what is said in a thought-for-thought manner. Sometimes word-for-word translations don’t make sense across cultures, especially if you use idioms. Interpreters usually only share a couple of sentences before listening to the main speaker again. Their job is not to say new things but to faithfully convey the message of the speaker.
The Holy Spirit serves as an interpreter between believers and God. He is fluent in both languages and knows how to bridge communication barriers. On one side, you have the infinite wisdom of the God of the universe. On the other, you have finite human beings with limited minds. We can’t hope to understand God without help.
Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” (NKJV). The only way our peon minds can begin to understand almighty God is when the Holy Spirit reduces the messages into bite-sized chunks.
The Holy Spirit Interprets God to Us
John 16:13-15 says, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore, I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you” (NKJV).
The Holy Spirit only speaks what He hears. He doesn’t make stuff up, but takes from Jesus to give to believers. Jesus clarifies that because the Father has given Christ everything, the Spirit shares the things of God. The Holy Spirit speaks truth and tells us things to come. He simplifies the vastness of God’s instructions so we can digest them. God want us to understand Him. We are blessed to have the Holy Spirit so that we can know God’s truth.
Sometimes I beg God for reasons for the turmoil in my life. I want to know what God is doing and why. I ask God for the roadmap and timing of when I will escape my trial. While God knows how much longer it will last, usually all I hear is “Trust Me.” Several times my circumstances have deteriorated before they improved. The Holy Spirit, knowing that at the time I didn’t have the capacity to think of things getting worse, simply told me to trust God. That was all my finite mind could grasp. It was enough.
The Holy Spirit Interprets Us to God
Romans 8:26-27, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (NKJV).
I have sat down to pray so distraught that no words would form in my mouth. When all I could do was cry, I have felt the Holy Spirit intercede on my behalf. My heart groaned, unable to breakthrough despair. Sometimes a good cry is healing, because I release stress. When I ask, the Holy Spirit takes my shattered heart and turns its cries into heavenly words that the Father understands.
The Holy Spirit has saved me from misguided prayers so many times. I can remember guys I was interested in, jobs I wanted, and travel I desired, none of which have happened. I’m so thankful that God said, “No.” Had I actually dated those men, worked those jobs, or gone to those places the results would have been terrible.
In one specific instance, I can imagine the Holy Spirit interpreting my prayer to God as, “She asked for this job. However, if she knew what You’ve shared with me God, she wouldn’t want it. In a few months, her friend is going to get really sick. She needs a slow-paced job to take time off. The other job would require her to work a lot, and she couldn’t leave. So, on her behalf, I ask that You don’t give her the job.”
The Holy Spirit interpreted my prayer accurately. Thank God I didn’t get the job. I traveled many times over the next six months to visit my sick friend. Though I’d been bored, God knew where He needed me so that my management would allow me to go. God was looking out for my best, even though the initial answer was disappointing.
Sometimes, I still forget what God has done and get frustrated when God says, “No.” Fortunately, God has said, “No” enough times now that have blessed me, that it’s easier to accept. Developing trust muscles comes through experiencing God’s repeated faithfulness in our lives.
I can trust the Interpreter to do His job wisely. He will stay true to what He hears and make known to me only what I need so I may walk in the wisdom of the Lord. Thank God for giving us the Holy Spirit as our Interpreter who intercedes only for God’s glory and our good.
Joanna Eccles has led Bible studies for over ten years and completed the year-long C. S. Lewis Fellows Program. She is passionate about discipleship and helping people know God better. Joanna enjoys coffee, traveling, and reading, and currently lives in Virginia.