The truest form of love is intimate. Unfortunately, intimacy is often regarded as unnecessary, weak or sordid. Often, we long to love intimately but can’t muster it up in ourselves or the ones we love because it is not a matter of making intimacy but of being filled to the brim with Someone so that he runs down around us.
Intimacy cannot be coerced, badgered or manipulated. It is much like precious life that cannot be replicated despite our numerous attempts to try but requires a source from which to take root, a mother yeast from which to rise. Relying on this crazy-making world to lead us to intimacy is a frightening thought, primarily because it often rejects the foundational truth that our hearts have been made as vessels to hold the Holy, a full portion of which is incomparable, unfettered intimacy.
This I discovered on a recent sojourn to Israel, early one morning on the Galilee shore. I went down to the water at dawn; I had a hunch that if the sunrise at home was lovely it must be breathtaking here. As I walked toward the dock, I was struck hard by the reality of the moment, that this chilly morning was not so different than the mornings Jesus had walked to the water’s edge. As I grabbed my flimsy jacket more closely to me, I knew that Jesus had done the same, wrapping an extra blanket or robe more tightly as he walked. My steps grew quicker as I neared the beach, and I was certain Jesus had hurried as well anticipating what was just to come.
I reached the water and drank from its vista. Across the lake, a rich watercolor stained the horizon. Within minutes, the sun would crest the hills. Cold air filled my lungs, and as the sun made its push to govern this part of the world for another brief moment in an eternal timeline, the wind rose to a frenzy, gusting through reeds, palm branches roaring, waves roiling, birds flung in erratic abandon. All of the earth danced in expectant praise before God, and we leaned together toward the sun as it first seeped and then burst into view, hanging low and full. At once, the wind quieted, the reeds were still, the birds vanished. As I knew without doubt that Jesus had hurried toward this shore a thousand times, I also knew that he delighted in this worship, offering his heart along with the birds and grasses and water, unified in praise for the One who spoke life eons ago. I am convinced, as the bible records Jesus returned to Galilee to rest, that this is what restored him. I was struck dumb to be witness to it.
My intimate moment with Jesus gave me a deeper understanding of the intimacy he shared with his Abba. It seemed incredibly personal…human. Perhaps what we consider human is actually Godly, the best of what God intends us to be. When we are at our most childlike, engaged in wonder, we are at our most open, an essential character of intimacy. Perhaps it is when we forget to be human, rich in heart, deep in desire, that we stifle intimacy and purpose. Surely nothing creates greater wonder and, thus, willing abandon than being witness to God’s glory. In it, our purpose and his power are knit together perfectly. A full portion of our Father, an intimate moment of worship in his presence, is deeply satisfying. From it, we are completely satiated, no longer needy, expecting nothing from others but fully able to love them gray.