A Longing for Intimacy


Growing up, I’ll admit that I didn’t have the slightest clue as to what it meant to have a personal relationship with Christ. Sure, I knew every song by heart, I memorized scriptures so I could win a piece of candy in Sunday School, but to be completely honest, I didn’t know the first thing about truly believing God wanted an intimate relationship with me. I spent two years in a bible program, memorizing verse after verse out of the bible, spending countless hours on the road, spreading the word of this gracious, loving God that I truthfully didn’t know myself. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Lord, I considered myself a Christian but that personal relationship was lacking. There was something missing. I could look someone in the eyes and tell them that God was merciful but I didn’t believe it myself. Instead, I lived in constant fear of screwing up. And then if I did slip up, I felt like it was all over. I might as well throw in the towel because how could a person like Jesus Christ forgive me? He was sinless. He was the only perfect being so how could he look at me with forgiveness in His eyes?
I’ve always had a longing for intimacy. I think that’s natural for most human beings and I truly believe that this longing is something that God puts inside us from the moment we’re created. A child longs for a mother’s touch, young children search for that adoring look in their father’s eyes, and as we grow, those desires for intimacy change. I see it all the time, young girls searching for approval or affection and looking in all the wrong places. I see it in guys, too. It’s so normal to crave that attention, that affection, that intimacy. Like I said, I feel like it’s something Christ puts within each of us. The key is this, though: those yearnings within us are our soul’s way of hungering and thirsting after God. But so many times we mistake those yearnings for cravings of other kinds and we pursue things like attention and flattery. And the sad thing about that is you usually end up with empty relationships or immoral behavior when you allow those longings to be satisfied with anything other than Christ. St. Augustine said it best: “Our hearts are restless until we find rest in Him.” I spent my entire early twenties trying to satisfy that desire for intimacy in all the wrong ways. I hurt myself and a lot of others along the way. It took me finally getting to a point where I knew everything I’d tried wasn’t working and I had no other option than turning back to Christ. I was skeptical and didn’t have much faith in finding the intimacy that I so desired. I didn’t think I’d find the affection that I needed. But when I made that total surrender and basically just told God that I was releasing all my desires, my needs, my wants to Him, it was then that I began to experience God in a way I’d never known Him. I began to see that it was more than just memorizing scripture or singing a song. It was more than taking communion just because everyone else was. I began to realize that when I drank of the cup and ate the bread, this was me acknowledging the hugest, most gracious, most loving act of sacrifice anyone has ever done for me. Jesus loves me so much that He DIED for me. There will never be a more loving, intimate act towards me. When I find myself lonely or longing for attention and affection, I can now remind myself of the love, the peace that passes all understanding, the grace, the kindness, the mercy that can only be found in Him.
For a long time, I felt bad or guilty for desiring this affection and intimacy, but knowing that it’s a longing that Christ has placed in my heart brings me so much peace. He is the Author of our desires. And He longs for us to draw near to Him. It’s up to us, though, whether or not we choose to allow Him to satisfy our longings!
I pray you have a blessed rest of the week! ~Rach


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