When I think about His loving intimacy, my spirits are lifted. I feel at peace. The storms in life cease. My faith and hope increase. Do you remember when you were a small kid and being held in your dad's arms was the most peaceful thing in the world? You felt safe in his arms because you knew you belonged to him and he would protect you. You knew he would give his life for you. That's the type of relationship we have with our Father. (And He did give His life for us.)
That's the God we serve. In the latest issue of the Voice of the Martyrs magazine, I read about a Muslim woman named Padina who served Allah passionately. Padina was a die-hard Muslim and everyone knew it. But for some reason, she just never felt close to Allah. The article says,
"From the time Padina was four years old, she followed every rule of Islam in an attempt to grow closer to Allah. But Padina could never reach Allah. 'I never felt peace,' she said. 'I would cry for hours to Allah, saying, 'I am so far from you. I can never go into your presence.' She felt depressed and hopeless."
She wanted a personal, one-on-one relationship with her god. But she had a problem: her god didn't exist. Allah wasn't giving her what she wanted because he wasn't real.
Eventually, she gave up on Allah. She ended up choosing Jesus over Allah. One day, Padina and her mother heard a televangelist illegally preach about Jesus on TV, and Padina decided to try out this Jesus thing, not because she wanted Jesus, but because she wanted to honor Allah by embarrassing Jesus Christ. The next morning, Jesus healed her disabled mother and upon seeing her mother fully healed, Padina gave her life to Christ then and there. She is now one of the most wanted Christians in Iran because of how outspoken in her faith she is. But I want to focus on one thing: She chose Jesus over Allah because Jesus got involved in her life. That's something Allah never did, nor could he do. When Jesus showed up and got personally involved with Padina, she gave her life to Him.
We have full access to God's presence whenever we want to talk to Him. Can you even imagine how unbelievable that is?? God, the God, the great I AM, has given us, His children, all-access backstage passes to Himself. How cool is that! How humbling, how condescending of our God! We don't have to go through a priest, or cleanse ourselves by killing animals, or by entering a temple.
If this just isn't blowing your mind, let's put this into perspective. Think about your favorite celebrity, musician, or athlete. We could use anyone (Bono, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Kobe, etc), but we'll use one of mine: Peyton Manning. Imagine being on a first-name basis with Peyton. Cool, right? But Peyton probably knows thousands of people by name. So let's go further. Imagine having Peyton's personal cell phone number, a number I imagine only a few important people have. Ever cooler! But as busy as Peyton is and as "unimportant" as I am to such a star, we probably wouldn't spend a lot of time talking on the phone. So let's take it a step further. Imagine being best friends with him, eating dinner at his house, watching Monday Night Football with him, exchanging Christmas gifts, and going on hunting trips just the two of us. Now that would be cool! Awesome! Unbelievable! But that still falls short of the intimacy we have with God. For obvious reasons, Peyton and I couldn't spend every waking moment together. He wouldn't be able to be with me because he has family and because he has a very demanding job. But not God. God's there for us all the time. He's never unreachable, too busy, or not interested enough to talk to you.
We serve a personal, intimate God. We have a one-on-one relationship with the Creator of the universe. He's there. Always. And that will never change. He desires an intimate, personal relationship. That's what He created us for. He wants to be close. He wants to talk to you and listen to you talk to Him. He wants you to place all your hope and trust and plans and burdens and security in Him. He wants to walk with you every step you take and be with you everywhere you go. That's just how loving and intimate He is.