Intimacy with God

Hiding is human. We’ve been doing it ever since Adam and Eve tried to hide from God in the Garden of Eden. Intimacy is scary and vulnerable. And it gets us into a lot of trouble.

It’s logical to wonder why God created us for intimacy. The lack of intimacy has led to frustration, anger, desperation, depression, loneliness, heartache, sickness, and even death. The drive for intimacy has led to brokenness, abuse, illicit and dangerous sexual behavior, heartache, sickness, and even death.

We’re talking about much more than physical intimacy, although that’s included. We’re talking about the need to be close, to be understood, to be Number One to someone, to communicate heart-to-heart, to share with, to need and be needed, to be with someone with no walls between.

Many of the great story lines that resonate so deeply in our souls have this need at their core, even from Biblical times. Think Abraham, Jacob, David, and Hosea. Think Casa Blanca, Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story, Shreck, or Pretty Woman. The drive for intimacy can lead to love, war, and a whole lot more.

One of the most devastating and excruciating things a person can experience is intimacy gone wrong. The soul wounds are deep, easily infected, and slow to heal. Once wounded here it’s easy to either close yourself off to any intimacy ever again, or rush headlong from one relationship to another in a desperate attempt to find it.

Alternatively, there’s nothing like the nourishment and exhilaration true intimacy offers. Whether a healthy marriage, a true friend, or a long-standing small group, such intimacy fosters physical and emotional health, provides amazing strength and resilience for tough times, and enlivens the deepest parts of you to grow and thrive. You become more than you ever thought you could be.

As I told my husband many times and have engraved on his grave marker, “You are the wind beneath my wings!”

So what was God after in creating us this way? Surely He knew this need would cause us pain and get us into trouble. Was it worth it when God created us for intimacy?

The truth of the Bible, and the truth that makes our need for intimacy make sense, is this:

God created us for Himself.

God is Love. Love cannot tolerate barriers. That’s why the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are so close that they are One God. That’s why God came in the person of Jesus, risking everything, to remove barriers between us and Him. And it’s why God created us for intimacy.

When God created human beings in His image, He created us with the same need, desire, and capacity for intimacy as He has within Himself. It’s one of the primary ways in which we are like Him. And true eternal intimacy with Him is our destiny, the only way we will ever be satisfied.

It’s also one of the primary ways in which Satan, sin, and evil has messed with us. Our sinful world has turned our need for intimacy against us. Our very drive for intimacy now drives us to do things that make intimacy with ourselves, others, and God anything but possible.

Our need for intimacy, and our illegitimate and broken ways of seeking it, are primary reasons why singleness is so painful for so many. It’s at the root of so many troubled and miserable marriages. It’s something we often try to drown in addictions. And if and when we become resigned to isolation instead of intimacy we begin to die – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

The need for intimacy is so deep that we cannot live without it.

Ouch! Is there any hope? Shining the light on this deep part of who we are as humans makes us cry out with Paul, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24)

As always, God has the answer. Here’s what God would have us do with our need for intimacy.

  1. Seek Relationship with God

This is the only place our deepest and strongest needs for intimacy can be met. No human being, even in the healthiest marriage, can meet your intimacy needs in every way. The label on the God-shaped hole in your soul reads “Intimacy.”  Tweet that.

This is why behavior-based religion is so empty, and often so destructive. It’s the core issue in spiritual warfare. It’s the heart that counts, even while there are many necessary behaviors that follow from that heart change.

In your Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, and all the rest of it, seek relationship with God. If that heart connection is not happening, do something different. You are actively pursuing relationship with a Person, and One who is desperately seeking a relationship with you.

  1. Pursue Connection with Others

Married or single, connection with others is as vital to our wellbeing as food and water. It’s the vehicle through which healing of our inner soul often comes. (See James 5:16)

Pursuing connection with others means both opening yourself in appropriate ways to allow others to minister to your own needs, and offering yourself generously in ministering to their needs. God built you to give; giving opens opportunity for intimacy with others like nothing else can.

  1. Pursue Intimacy in Marriage

Don’t get upset with this point; not everyone is, can, or will be married or happily married. Paul makes clear that there are many ways and times where singleness is less distressing. (See 1 Corinthians 7)

But as God intended it, marriage is the clearest deepest laboratory in which we learn intimacy. It’s perhaps the primary ingredient in learning to love well. (And physical intimacy is only one small part of intimacy in marriage.)

For intimacy to happen in marriage you have to learn to understand your spouse, to put their needs above your own, to forgive well, to communicate, to listen, to handle conflict in a healthy way, to keep going when things get tough. When you learn to love well, intimacy in marriage is as close to divine intimacy as we can experience on this Earth.  Tweet that.

Eternal Intimacy

Our need for intimacy will only be fully met in eternity, where there will truly be no barriers between us and others or us and God. We will be at home, fully seen and known. No more hiding. Forever.

My prayer for you is that you experience all the intimacy possible here and how, with God and with others.

Are you Hungry for Intimacy?

Lack of intimacy in marriage is perhaps the greatest cause of marriage misery. (And this has very little to do with sex, although that is involved.)

If you aren’t involved in the Relationship part of our online family already, check out these recent resources we’ve made available:

You can find a collection of our most-requested Healthy Relationship Resources here.

If you are not getting our weekly Relationship Resources on marriage and related topics, make sure to click here to be included.

And if you’re not married and struggling with your singleness, we have resources available for you too. Let us know you’d like them.

Your Turn: What have you done in your search for intimacy? Has that been healthy or unhealthy? Have you given up? What do you hear God asking you to do now in your search for intimacy? Leave a comment below.

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  • God created us for Himself. Without understanding that, our drive for intimacy makes no sense.   Tweet that.