God, When Will You Speak in My Tongue?

Ten years ago, I met James, a Sudanese Bible translator, when I was a student in linguistics school. Although we met briefly, I just knew I had to stay his friend when I discovered this poem of his.

I hope this poem helps you grasp what it’s like to live in Bible poverty – a theme we will build on in future posts.

God, When Will You Speak in My Tongue?

Far and near
It is said that you, God, speak!
How do you do that?
Is it in their tongues?
If it is truly so,
God, when will you speak in my tongue?

East and west, north and south,
The Creator speaks, it is said!
Not in the language as of birds;
But in other human tongues I cannot understand!
God, when will you speak in my tongue?

Children and grown-ups of other lands,
With their different tongues,
Know your voice.
In their tongues you speak a special message to them!
If you speak messages in different tongues,
God, when will you speak in my tongue?

In the world around, we perceive you,
Yet your language is not clear.
We want to know you personally,
We want to hear you speak to us.
If you know all tongues,
God, when will you speak in my tongue?

We search you as a treasure.
Our eyes look on mountains, rivers,
Even in caves, forest and world around us.
Many voices are heard, confused we become,
If your voice is one, as of that of the Creator of all,
God, when will you speak in my tongue?

Oh! God, Creator of all people,
You who do not segregate,
Is it possible to hear you speak?
Can you speak in my tongue?
God, when will you speak in my tongue?

—James Lokuuda Kadanya

James speaks the Toposa language of South Sudan, which is spoken by more than a half million people. Today he is operating Salt and Light Outreach Ministries in South Sudan.

This post originally appeared on July 22, 2011.

For more reading, see related post: Pray for Open Doors in South Sudan.

7 Comments to God, When Will You Speak in My Tongue?

  1. charlie lopez's Gravatar charlie lopez
    January 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    what a desire to know God personally.

    we are so blessed to have the Bible in our language.
    lets expand this blessing to those that dont have it yet.

    blessings to james and south sudan

  2. March 22, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Hi I am John Njoroge from Kenya. I am just curious as to whether this is the same James Kadanya who was my friend at Scott Theological College. I now work with a ministry called RZIM. Our web address is http://www.rzim.org.

  3. gary's Gravatar gary
    June 24, 2015 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Growing up fundamentalist/evangelical, I was told that as a born-again Christian God would “speak to me”, “move me”, and “lead me” so that I would know and could follow his will. I listened to others talk about how God spoke to them, moved them, and led them to do this and to do that…but He never did the same for me. I finally came to the conclusion that there must be something wrong with me because God had decided he didn’t want to talk to me. So I left the Church.

    Many years later I became an orthodox Lutheran and was told that God doesn’t work like that. The evangelicals are wrong. The voice they are listening to is their own. According to “true” Christianity, God speaks to Christians in only one manner: through his Word, the Bible.

    That gave me a lot of peace…until I found out that the “Word” is full of discrepancies, errors, and scribe alterations.

    I was very sad (and angry) to find out—it is ALL nonsense.

    So what about my problem of not hearing the “voice” that other evangelicals were hearing speak, move, and lead them? After deconverting completely from Christianity, I came to realize that it was THEM, not me, that had the problem. They were hearing voices. I was the sane one…who did not.

  4. May 22, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink
  1. By on January 23, 2012 at 6:43 am
  2. By on January 26, 2012 at 12:00 am
  3. By on October 30, 2014 at 10:01 am

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>