Seeking Intimacy

Intimacy is an elusive state. It seems everyone has the “keys” to having an intimate relationship, but every key opens another door of an empty closet. Yet, we all seek intimacy in our relationships, and we especially wish there were such a thing as intimacy with God. Is it possible?

As I consider life with Cara, my amazing wife, I’ve been tracking back to see how we have pursued the elusive “I” word. We shared a great deal of likes and dislikes in our dating days, and we found much in common. In fact, we only seemed to disagree over which was best – Pepsi or Coke. (It’s Coke, by the way.) We shared our dreams of career and family life, and our hearts felt a resounding closeness. Our communication was strong and frequent, but it wasn’t intimacy.

After marriage, Cara and I learned even more about how the other lived life. I learned that she still was wonderful, and Cara learned that I needed a little direction around the house. I began to see Cara in a different light as a woman, a wife, and eventually mother. Cara saw that I followed my passions and dreams, and the words during our dating life were becoming a reality. We shared our meals, our bodies, our house – all our experiences, but it wasn’t intimacy.

Intimacy seemed to come sporadically until I realized what I’d been missing all along. I spent my life trying to know and experience Cara, but I hadn’t taken time to open up and be known by her. It’s not that Cara didn’t try; it’s that I resisted. I finally began to realize that intimacy is more than knowledge and experience. It also requires being known.

The Apostle Paul explained this in passing when he was writing to the Galatians. He expressed his concerns for their slipping back into sinful living. In Galatians 4:8-9 Paul writes, “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?” It wasn’t simply that the Galatians had come to know God, but they were known by Him. In spite of all the baggage of their past, God knew them and loved them. That kind of love and grace changes things – at least it should! Perhaps we just need to be reminded from time to time.

Once I allowed myself to be open and known by Cara, I knew Cara and her love in a different way. In spite of all my junk, she loves me. Her love is, to me, loyal and full of grace. That love is different than the love we thought we knew when we got married. It is real, abiding, and pregnant with hope.

We can spend much of our lives getting to know God. We can read about Him, hear sermons about Him, and take classes about Him. We might even go so far as try to experience God. We can pray, meditate, and join in corporate worship. But, it isn’t intimacy. Intimacy requires that both parties be open to one another. God came in the flesh, and His words and works are there to be known. God is, shall we say, an open book? Yet, God’s love and desire for us will bring little peace and hope to our souls until we learn that intimacy with God requires us to be known by Him. Yes, God knows everything, but does that knowledge make it a reality in your life? It didn’t for me until I allowed my heart to be open and I knew that God could know all about me – the good, bad and the ugly. When I did this, God knowing me became a reality. When I did this, God’s love for me became a reality. When I surrendered my heart, I began to understand what God had truly done by sacrificially loving me. Knowing God’s kind of love and grace changed me and still changes me. Intimacy can still be elusive, at times, but with God all things are possible.

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