Personal Challenge #14: Living as One who is Loved (Part 4)


Journal Entry, Age 19
Intimacy with God… I want to strive for it. I can’t seem to want to make much time. I need desire to be stirred within me to want with all my heart, intimate relationship with the invisible God.

Misconception: I thought I had to strive to achieve intimacy with God. I was striving on my own to get to Him. That was why I thought what the physical realm and the ways of the world could offer were much more fun than trying so hard to feel connected to God. Related to this, I felt like it was boring and pointless to “spend time with God”, and I believed a lie that He really couldn’t meet me. 

For me, the biggest obstacle was I craved tangible connection. God can meet my needs? I had no idea what that meant and how that worked. And the waiting period? I wanted to just roll over and see He is there whenever I want. That’s what I imagined marriage to be too. Someone physical, always there to meet my needs whenever I need. And when He was not tangibly there, I settled for meeting my needs my own way.

The beautiful thing of intimacy found in the design for marriage was modeled after the perfect relationship Jesus has with the Bride, the Church, and also the relationship between Jesus and the individual. But I didn’t understand the concept of intimacy: that intimacy is two-way, that it’s all about two coming together, that intimacy is fueled by love, and I didn’t need to strive. When we take one step toward Him, we know that He steps toward us too. And the delay? The times when you can’t feel Him? It is also part of the dance of relationship. A man could never satisfy every need of my heart perfectly, no matter how good a man he is. But God can. And to have all my needs fully satisfied in God would set me up to give from that wholeness, and receive the blessings from a godly marriage.

My prayer as a 19 year old was to know Jesus first. To know intimacy with Him before my husband. I am just learning that now, 15 years later, because I wasn’t able to consistently keep choosing Jesus in times of need. Rather than developing intimacy with Him, I was developing ‘intimacy’ toward whatever I chose in times of need. 

Now, I don’t choose other things. I wait it out, through that terribly uncomfortable period of time between hearing my heart’s cry and refusing to turn to something for temporary relief, and waiting… Then I hear His voice saying, “Come, be with Me.” 

I sought the Lord and His promise is that those who seek, find. I began at age 19, and I “found His love in the desert” at age 33. I think because I allowed compromise to get in the way over and over, the journey was longer. I took a long time to learn to wait for God in those moments of desperation. I took a long time to learn that His arm IS long enough. 

“Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God.” Isaiah 59:1

Oh that I would have shortened the journey. That mourning causes me to want to share what I’ve learned. Friends, say no to compromise and say yes to Jesus throughout those daily choices, and see what He will do! That revelation is available to all who start to choose Him and choose Him consistently. 

Journal Entry
I couldn’t see Him for four days, and I doubted Him. I doubted His love and I even doubted His existence. Forgive me, Lord. Oh, that the next time I will choose to believe and trust You even in the blackness, when I can’t see you there at all.

Journal Entry
I had been treating God the same as a person, expecting Him to answer my phone call immediately. He is our deepest friend and our core relationship but he is also Holy and his ways are higher than ours.

Until we come away with Him, just Him alone, and learn to be alone with Him, begin building that intimacy with Him, we can’t know Him as the number one Person that satisfies our soul.

“All night long on my bed
I looked for the one my heart loves;
I looked for him but did not find him.
I will get up now and go about the city,
through its streets and squares;
I will search for the one my heart loves.
So I looked for him but did not find him.
The watchmen found me
as they made their rounds in the city.
“Have you seen the one my heart loves?”
Scarcely had I passed them
when I found the one my heart loves.
I held him and would not let him go.”
Song of Songs 3:1-4a

From a very young age, I knew about God, but I would know2 Him, in the intimate sense of the word, later. Before I knew Him, I turned to other things because I didn’t know who He was and that He was Sufficient.

“I don’t want your sacrifices –
I want your love;
I don’t want your offerings –
I want you to know me.”
Hosea 6:6 TLB

Once I tasted His love, from that point on, I WANTED to be with Him. It is NOT an obligatory devotion, it is because He’s really so incredibly awesome and has more and more and more and more for me and I want to keep going in deep!!!!

  1. Intimacy is developed through time spent. 
  2. Intimacy is developed through encountering God’s love for you, and simply yielding to the natural response of being loved. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
  3. Intimacy is developed through choosing, and choosing consistently, that Person. Through saying no to other things that would take the place of that Person. Through waiting for that Person, even waiting in a temporary posture of tears and pain and unanswered desires. 
  4. Intimacy is reciprocation of affection. He will come for you. He will definitely come. 
  5. Intimacy is the joining of yourself to the Lord to become one with His Spirit.

This relationship begins with great romance: the skies tell of the majestic and glorious God (Psalm 19:1-3). We seek after Him, and those who seek after Him with all their heart, He makes Himself found to them. Throughout all of this, we are drawn to Him by His love. And as we encounter His love, the only possible response is adoration.

“She loved much.” (Luke 7:47)
And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Luke 7:37-38

Note the greek words that are used in both verses: 

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined (kollao) to his wife, and the two shall become one (heis) flesh.” Matthew 19:5

But the one who joins (kollao) himself to the Lord is one (heis) spirit with Him.” 1 Corinthians 6:17

Earthly intimacy is where one man and one woman join together and become one flesh. Spiritual intimacy is between a person who joins himself or herself to the Lord and becomes one spirit with Him. Wow. Chew on that one.

The Lord confides in those who fear him;
he makes his covenant known to them.
Psalm 25:14

I feel like I am just beginning to step into His heart. He is sharing His secrets with me. I’m just beginning, I feel like my capacity to handle the contents of His heart is extremely limited. I open His word, and read sometimes just a paragraph, and gasp in awe and can hardly go any further.

Journal Entry
Stretch my heart, oh God. Your words are so precious to me. I want to hear all that you want to share with me. I don’t want to step back. As you open Your word to me, I want to walk in with You. I am overwhelmed in Your presence, overwhelmed by this teeny glimpse into the infinite expanse of Your heart, yet I want to keep going in deeper. I want all you have for me.
This is relationship with You. It is the most wonderful thing I have ever experienced.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
This is His promise to each of us. I’m in my 4th decade of this journey of coming to know Him. It is a lifelong journey with the privilege and blessing of knowing Him here on earth, and moving towards meeting Him face-to-face in eternity.

Personal Challenge:
Is there some way that you are wanting to respond to what God is saying to you? Remember, this time you have been spending with the 55 Day Challenge is about YOUR individual relationship with Him. I’ve been sharing what He has been speaking to me and how I am responding to Him, as a testimony, with the desire that YOU will hear from Him directly and your individual relationship with Him will deepen and strengthen and mature and continue to do so in the years ahead.
What is God speaking to you, and is there some way that you want to respond to Him?