What can I learn about God from a talking gorilla?


Sema, an eight-year-old, 250-pound gorilla, communicates through sign language. Glee Granger trained Sema since birth. Now, the zoo wants her back.


ImageIn her novel Unspoken, Angela Hunt relates Glee’s battle to remain Sema’s caregiver, researcher, trainer, and family. The gorilla-human relationship depends upon the bond between the two, but the zoo’s demand threatens to destroy the connection.


No one else knows the signs Glee has specifically created for Sema. No one else knows Sema’s heart and personality. No one else will listen when Sema talks. And talk Sema does. She communicates love, concern, fear, needs, and happiness. 


What will happen when her lines of communication are broken? If they are broken? Hunt covers all this and more in a novel that made me fall in love with Sema and her honest communication. I wanted to talk with her, learn from her.


Have you ever wondered what animals think? What they’d say if they could talk?


Sema’s desire to talk is similar to God’s desire to talk with me, to hear me. He knows the signs for me, my personal code. He talks, but do I listen? To do so, I must make myself available, slow down, and pay attention. Not easy to do when the world’s fighting to steal me away, but the benefits are worth the effort. When I do, God shares his love and care for me. I only have to listen.

Do you struggle to listen? What benefits have you received from doing so?


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4 responses to “What can I learn about God from a talking gorilla?

  1. Using the language I understand, God is teaching me His personal code. A road trip to California with my husband is a perfect venue for Him to firmly pry my fingers off the things I have thought I needed–regular exercise, supplements, structure, even my treasured 45-minute quiet time every morning. All those things are good, but all I really need is a moment-by-moment dependence on Him. He gave us a breathtaking picture of His beauty when we spent time with relatives who exude love and joy in spite of difficult circumstances. When we were having a bad day, He gave us the perfect parking spot at a motel. When I had a sticky computer problem, He showed me the solution. He is maintaining my health even though I hardly ever get an exercise workout, and even though I ran out of a couple of my supplements. He pointed out that I could be still in His presence on the pot, rather than reading or doing puzzles there. Structure on vacation? Forget about it. But God is still able to guide my every step. I just need to listen.

  2. Thank you for your lovely post, Pamela. I loved your analogy!