By Recovering Soul
Intimacy is one of the key pillars in a successful relationship. It means having a connection, a closeness, familiarity, safety, trust, being comfortable with someone. There’s confidence. Intimacy can be with your partner, family members, close friends, even your kids, especially when grown up (I have witnessed this between my siblings and parents). That closeness is what makes people know you, your strengths, faults, behaviors, non-verbal communication, even idiosyncrasies.
With intimacy, you spend time with someone, you get to know them more and you desire to even spend more time with them. Without intimacy, you’d find yourself struggling in your relationship(s).
Ever found yourself struggling with relating with God? It does happen. I have, and it’s not easy. When struggles have come my way, difficult moments, lack of results, unemployment, mental health issues, loneliness, I have found it difficult to relate with God. I have found myself isolating from Him, peace failing, faith dwindling, having a hollow soul, or seeing as if He is far from me.
Sometimes, I have felt that my prayers do not seem to be heard or have taken too long and I felt like God was doing nothing. You know that moment when you look around you and see the blessings, the successes and ask God, ‘Why is it not happening to me?’ Moments I have found it hard to even find God. But here’s what I realized – the more I spend less time with the Lord because of my circumstances, the more my relationship with Him diminishes.
Perhaps others go through it differently. John Olwero once said in a Twitter post, ‘Some people do experience this (struggling with relating with God) because they’ve not known God as their God. Their relationship isn’t personal for them yet. They know He’s God but He’s not their God. He’s God of their pastors, their families, apostles, friends.’
Others struggle relating as a result of bad experiences with the church or believers through hypocrisy, judgmental attitudes or even abuse. It could also be as a result of tragedies, temptations and/or the seeming invisibility of God. Or perhaps one forgetting the meaning of the gospel, of the cross.
I call myself a Christian, but calling oneself a Christian is one thing, being intimate with God is another. You may go to church every Sunday, you may tithe and give offering, but it could be as a sense of responsibility, as a duty, as an act that you should observe. Again, being really close to God could have been affected by your responsibilities, your busy-ness, your social circles, your hobbies, even your ministry. And you may not even have noticed it, or you may have.
Lately, in my alone time, I have learnt that God still desires intimacy with me, even with my wretched soul. He desires closeness with us. He wants to relate at a personal level. He wants to have that close, special connection with me, with you. He’s no respecter of persons. He wants you to come just as you are, to know Him better. He may be the Almighty, the I Am that I Am, the One who is infinite and so unlimited that we may never fully know Him, the One you ask ’Who am I that you are mindful of me?’ He still wants you. He really does care for you and loves you as a person.
In my relationships past and present, I know that it’s not easy being intimate with someone you don’t know, someone you don’t spend time with. Reading the Bible, praying and worshipping may seem routine, but it is really how you get to be close to God, to have that familiarity with Him, for He’s revealed who He is and what He’s like in the Bible.
We are built for relationships, as no man or woman is an island. When you don’t give someone attention, the end result doesn’t make for an ecstatic read. That relationship is doomed to fail. God desires that attention. You don’t have to pray long prayers. You know that Whatsapp message you send every now and then to someone you always desire to talk to? A simple prayer every now and then daily can really change your life. He wants us to give Him time, more time.
You don’t have to go to a Sunday service or fellowship only to spend time with God, to relate with Him. With the Holy Spirit, God is exactly where you are. Stand still and know that He is God. Listen to Him. Your answers may even come through the most unlikely of sources.
John Wimber once said, ‘The ability to hear what God is saying, to see what God is doing, and to move in the realm of the miraculous comes as an individual develops the same intimacy with and dependence upon the Father [as Jesus had]. How did Jesus do what he did? The answer is found in his relationship with the Father. How will we do the “greater things than these” which Jesus promised (John 14:12)? By discovering the same relationship of intimacy, simplicity and obedience.’
With intimacy comes vulnerability. We should be vulnerable to God. Open up to him no matter your failures, inadequacies, misbehaviors or sinful nature. Talk to Him even when things are not working out. Call Him, reach out to Him. Cry out your heart. Converse with Him, question Him. Be honest with Him.
Don’t pretend that all is well. God doesn’t reach that point where He is so shocked with what you tell Him nothing else can absolutely shock Him anymore. He is never traumatized by your vulnerability. He knows you and He won’t judge you. He forgives even the most unthinkable, the most despicable of characters. This is what can draw you closer to him.
And you can trust God. Trust means you have also given someone priority in your life. It furthermore means you can be patient with them. When you trust the Lord in your own life, in everything about you, your relationship grows deeper, no matter the circumstances, the challenges, the timelines, the distractions that come your way that create deviations.
I remember some seven years ago I really questioned God about my life. Where was He, I asked. Did He even care? Later, I was involved in an accident that should have taken my life. I got out with a scratch. He had revealed Himself. I felt closer.
That incident reminds me of Lauren Daigle’s song. ‘When you don’t move the mountains I need you to move, when you don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through. When you don’t give me answers when I cry out to you, I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you.’
I know intimacy doesn’t come easy. At times it is difficult. But it’s not a one-off, it’s a step-by-step journey. Look at yourself, look around you. If two imperfect people can become intimate, can be bosom, what about when only one party is imperfect? Those of you in relationships, in marriages, know how you feel when you say someone completes you. Now picture that with God.
Just Do it. In simplicity.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)