Only Adam and Eve experienced intimacy with God to the extent that God intended, walking and talking with Him in the beautiful garden He created for their enjoyment. But because of their disobedience and the resulting Fall of humankind, no one since the Garden of Eden has enjoyed such fellowship. We are incomplete, imperfect, and impatiently craving that which our souls simply cannot find apart from an intimate relationship with our loving God.
As the bride of Christ, we eagerly await His return so that our relationship may be perfected once again. We clamor to experience the fullness of God — to hold His hand… sit in His lap… gaze into His loving eyes… feel His warm embrace envelop us… hear His laughter and sense His good pleasure in us. While we will only experience such intimacies and ecstasies with God on the other side of heaven, we can still experience great joy in our relationship with Him on this side of heaven.
Relating to God so intimately is not a new phenomenon or strictly a charismatic movement. Actually, Judaism is full of wedding and consummation imagery. Each Friday night, Shabbat [the Sabbath] is welcomed in as a beautiful bride. The relationship between God and the Jewish people has long been described as that of lovers consummating their pledge to each other.[i] They pursue what was intended from the beginning. They attempt to perfect their love relationship with the Lord. They express their commitment to the utmost degree. They are His people, and He is their God, and they bask wholeheartedly in one another’s attentions and affections.
If you are like me, you crave this kind of relationship with your heavenly Bridegroom as well. But we must remember the principle mentioned earlier — all love affairs are carried on in private. To experience such depth, we must get alone with God, tune out all distractions, and focus on hearing His voice. This can be a challenge in our fast-paced, hurry-up, gotta-run world. Most of us feel we don’t have time to look up, let alone sit still. However, it is true that: “Power flows out of stillness, strength out of solitude. Decisions that change the course of lives come out of these quiet times.”[ii]
[ii] Bill Hybels, Honest To God? (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990), 25.