Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Recently, I heard a comment that really kind of struck me and is really sticking with me even now. I have had a group of fellow officers meeting in my home every other Sunday night, discussing the book ‘Wild At Heart’ and generally what it means to be a man, a husband, a father, all while living our lives true to our faith. This is really difficult to do, by the way…for those of you who didn’t already know. At any rate, we were recently watching a video of the author of the book and some of his friends discussing the adventure of living. Eldredge, the author of the book ‘Wild At Heart’, used an expression that, as I said, struck me. While talking with his friends, he said that he craved a “conversational intimacy” with God. And so, the wheels began to turn for me. I asked myself what that would look like and feel like.I am forced to consider biblical people of faith in this. Moses, for example, had one of those kinds of relationships with God. He was called, in a way only he could know, to deeper, more meaningful time spent with God. The incident with the burning bush, the issuance of the commandments, the parting of the Red Sea…and the list goes on. Jacob comes to mind. It is said that he “wrestled” with an angel but, for all practical purposes, Jacob wrestled with God. After that “conversation” with God, Jacob was never the same again. In fact, his name was changed and he walked with a limp…he was a marked man. King David comes to mind as well. The beauty and passion of the Psalms speaks volumes of a “conversational intimacy” with a God who loved him, moved him and, at times, seemed to punish him.Perhaps the greatest example of this is, of course, Jesus. Of course, this would stand to reason, right? I mean, wouldn’t the son of God have a conversational intimacy with his father? In reading the Bible, we see many times that Jesus went off alone to, as the Bible says, “pray”. In my simple mind, that means he went out to be alone with his father…some quality time. It strikes me that this is what it’s all about. Of course Jesus was the son of God. He was also a friend of God who loved spending time with his father, talking over things, listening. The twelve disciples come to mind also. Imagine if you will, spending three years hanging out with Jesus. Talk about your conversational intimacy! I mean, they got to see Jesus in his great moments and in his not so great moments. They got to watch him raise Lazarus from the dead and ask his father to “let this cup pass”. They watched him laugh, weep, rage against the Pharisees…they saw it all. And, in the end, they were forever changed by the humanity and divinity they saw displayed by this one of a kind man.This is the kind of relationship I want with Jesus. I remember being amused and annoyed as I was growing up by the prayers of some of the religious types with their thee and thou prayers, their pomposity and vagueness. What happened to intimacy? What happened to saying what you mean and meaning what you say? Here’s my thing…God knows what you really think so why don’t you say what you really think? I have zero problems telling God that I think something sucks or that I’m pissed off about something. When I tell Him how I really feel, He understands. I really have a problem with people who don’t say what they really feel. You are doing yourself and God a disservice. This is the point of having an intimate relationship with someone. To be able to be who you are without fear of rejection, judgment, ridicule. If you can’t have this kind of relationship with the God who created you, what is the point of having a relationship with God at all?However, there is one side of this intimacy agreement that I think a lot of us miss and I’m just as guilty as everybody else. Part of intimacy with someone other than ourselves involves listening to the other person. For those who are or have been married, you know what I’m talking about. Try explaining to your spouse that you are developing conversational intimacy with them by doing all the talking. We have to listen sometimes. So, try this…shut up sometimes too. God not only wants you to speak to him, He wants to speak with you also. If we will be quiet sometimes, we will hear Him. It’s hard to hear when you’re running your mouth. And, trust me when I say this, He will speak. It might not be in an audible voice or it might be. I have experienced enough of this myself that I can say this, He will speak and He will speak when he is darn good and ready. Our time is not his time, our place not his place, our ideas not his ideas. But, never fear…if you ask from a pure heart, He will speak and He will speak in a personal way, just for you. See, He knows you; He made you so He knows how to touch you. I know this to be true because of how God speaks to me. He knows that I am a “moments” kinda guy and He uses those moments, sometimes in nature, to speak to me, hold me. Fog over a cornfield in the light of the rising sun, a breathtaking sunset that just squeezes something inside me…and maybe inside you and we just know that there is something other than us there in that moment. Don’t put that aside, listen…He is calling you, holding you. God is not some distant, callous, impersonal thing somewhere out there. He is interested in you, your character, what makes you tick. So, try this…next time you have something to say to God, just say it. You might be surprised at the response you get. Yeah, I know…it scares me too.Intimacy is, to be quite frank, extremely frightening to all of us and it’s scary because true intimacy means being known for who you really are and knowing another for who they really are. I was married once and sadly, for a lot of reasons, we didn’t make it. I’m not going to sit here and blame her because it was just as much my fault as it was hers. But, I didn’t have true intimacy with my wife because I was scared. What if she found out who I really was, how insecure I really was, how dark my heart was sometimes…what then? Would she still have loved me?If God knows us intimately, what are we afraid of? Are we afraid that He won’t love us anymore if He knows how insecure we are, how dark our hearts are sometimes? Here is what is amazing about His love…He already knows us for who you really are and He loves us anyway. He craves that personal intimacy with you, with me but He’s waiting for us to invite Him to share our lives in a personal way. Why wouldn’t we want the only being who will always love us unconditionally to be an intimate part of our lives?