“My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”” (Psalm 27:8)
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” (Revelation 3:20)
These two verses were written over a thousand years apart and yet they both breathe the same air of loving closeness. It’s the same experience of getting to know someone deeply, of opening up to them and letting them know you too.
I want to take hold of the One who has taken hold of me.
Brad Meltzer once said that “there’s nothing more intimate in life than simply being understood. And understanding someone else.”
And that’s what God calls us into, isn’t it?
It’s where humans began, on the first pages of Genesis, walking with God in the cool of the day.
And that’s why separation from God is so deeply unnatural, because it cuts against the grain of how we were made. We were intended for intimacy!
“In every friendship hearts grow and entwine themselves together, so that the two hearts seem to make only one heart with only a common thought. That is why separation is so painful; it is not so much two hearts separating, but one being torn asunder.” (Fulton J. Sheen)
So how do we recover that intimacy? We frequently use spatial language when describing this experience. An intimate friend is someone we feel very close to; they know us at a deep level. If something happens that damages the intimacy with our friend, they feel distant from us. But of course intimacy is not spatial but relational.
It’s a matter of trust. We cannot be intimate with a person we don’t trust. Trust is at the heart of intimacy. The more we trust someone, the closer we let them get to us. This is as true in our relationship with God as it is in our relationships with other human beings.
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8). It’s a mistake to think that nearness to God can be achieved through gaining knowledge of Him. You can’t get a PhD in friendship. “Enoch walked with God,” (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5). We are called to a profoundly intimate way of living with God.
Some imagine it’s a matter of gaining knowledge about God, but knowledge is not synonymous with trust. That’s why Jesus said to the religious leaders of his day, who knew it all: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” (John 5:39–40)
Some pursue intimacy through contemporary worship events designed to inspire an experience of immanence.
Others chase “revivals”, thinking that proximity to God’s power will result in proximity to God. And if we truly trust God, such environments can indeed encourage that sense of closeness. But none of them inherently possesses the power to “make it happen.”
Jon Bloom put it well: “A candle-lit dinner with romantic music may encourage a sweet moment of relational intimacy between a husband and wife, but only to the degree that the environment encourages and deepens their mutual trust and love. If there’s relational distance between them due to a lack of trust, the aesthetics themselves have no power to bridge the distance. Only restoring the trust will do that.”
So how do we come close? We draw near to God through faith in Christ who alone gives us access to him (Hebrews 4:14–16, 7:25, Philippians 3:9), and we put our trust in all of his “precious and very great promises” which find their yes to us in Christ (2 Peter 1:4, 2 Corinthians 1:20).
And, as the old hymn writer said, “they who trust him wholly find him wholly true.”
And we discover that intimacy with God is our source of strength. There is simply nothing that isn’t possible, once you’re in love.