–Winter of 2004
Made for Intimacy
Theologians sometimes speak of a God-shaped vacuum within us. What they are describing is an inner emptiness at the core of our being that only God can fill. Our Creator has designed us that way; it’s a part of being made in His image. Just as the divine Persons live in intimate Trinitarian relationship, so human persons cannot be complete without intimate relationships. Our inner emptiness is only removed by a relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We were created for intimacy.
The first glimpses we have of God and man are ones showing the importance of intimacy. God teaches Adam that it’s not good for him to be alone and provides Eve as his wife. Then we see God strolling along with Adam and Eve, in the cool of the day, enjoying one another’s company and the beauties of Eden’s paradise. This is a scene that is repeated often in the opening pages of the Bible. God walks and talks with Enoch, Noah, and Abraham. It’s as if He wants to make clear early on His overwhelming desire and need to relate to us in intimate fellowship.
Yet most of us know far more about the absence of intimacy than the reality of it. Our culture is permeated with a sense of aloneness and isolation. Far too many of the people I meet (including Christians) do not carry the marks of intimate fellowship with God.
The psalmist David knew something about the joy of intimacy as well as the agonizing pain of emptiness. David was taken from tending sheep to become one of the most powerful kings of Israel. He drank deeply from the fountain of success. He had victory in battle, power over others, and abundant wealth. Yet, these things couldn’t fill his inner life. He cried, “As the deer longs for the water brook, so longs my souls for You, Oh God.” David knew that communion with God was more important than anything else. He said it this way, “There is one thing I have desired of the Lord, and I will seek it; to live with Him in His house all the days of my life, to contemplate His beauty, and to study at His feet.” The driving passion of David’s life was to maintain intimate union and communion with God. If he could only accomplish one thing in life, then intimacy with God would be that one thing.
That sounds strange to Western Christians who live in a culture passionate about success and driven to accumulate. Yet Jesus shows his agreement with David when he stood between a stressed out Martha and a seeking Mary and said to Martha, “One thing is essential, and Mary has chosen it.”
When we choose intimacy with God, we find an inner joy and peace that nothing can take away. When we choose preoccupation with earthly things (no matter how legitimate), we find disappointment, frustration, resentment, self-centeredness, anger and sometimes bitterness.
Intimacy with God is the only answer to inner emptiness. And it can only be found in being loved by God, loving Him in return, and walking in intimate union and communion with Him. If you lack the intimacy you know you should have, whatever the reason, draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.