I was awakened by a cat in the middle of the night. Now, this is not exactly earth-shattering news to my fellow “cat-people.” We all know that cats keep odd hours, and are fond of exploring, playing, and even musical experimentation in the wee hours of the morning. But, this was different.
My first memory was of feeling several little needles pricking my arm, right at the shoulder. These sharp needles were attached to two remarkably soft feet, which were attached to an equally remarkable feline named Wookie. She was standing next to me, “kneading” my arm in the dark with her front paws and purring loud enough to wake the neighborhood. Although the claws hurt, the paws more than offset those pinpoint pains, and I admit that I was enjoying being loved on by my little purrball.
Then, after a few minutes of this preparation, Wookie settled down next to me, with her paws on my shoulder and her wet nose on my cheek, still purring at full throttle. She nuzzled my cheek, turned her head a little, and settled down to nap, snuggled up head-to-cheek with her daddy.
Now that’s stress relief. I found the whole intimate moment to be so totally relaxing that I soon drifted off to sleep along with my little friend, and slept more soundly than I have in days (though still not long enough).
Recalling this moment reminds me of the basic need we all have for intimacy. We were never meant to be totally independent “islands” in society. God created mankind with a built-in need for close, intimate relationships, and anyone who says that’s not so for him or her isn’t telling the truth. Some may find this need manifested in odd ways, but the same basic drive is present in all of us.
Some people, seem to think of the words “intimacy” and “sex” as one in the same. Some even attempt to fill the intimacy gap with sexual relationships. The fact is that intimacy and sex do not necessarily have anything at all in common. Sometimes they have absolutely no commonality. In fact, the deepest levels of intimacy can best be reached when fully clothed, and when a relationship between husband and wife reaches that level of non-sexual intimacy first, the resulting sexual intimacy can be overwhelming. When you try to produce relational intimacy by attempting sexual intimacy, not only is the cart before the horse, the horse is lame and the cart is missing a wheel—it’s just not the same.
One of the strongest of human needs is the need for intimacy with God. This is a basic need that God designed into us humans, a design parameter that speaks to the basic reason that we were created in the first place–to have intimate fellowship with Him. Just as God designed into man and woman the basic instinct to bond, unify, and procreate, He also designed into us a deep sense of desire to know Him. Great preachers of the past have referred to this as a “God shaped hole” or “God shaped vacuum” that is built in to the heart of every single man, woman, boy, and girl. Even the diehard Atheist, when cornered, can recognize the basic instinct that tells him or her that there is a God, and their desire to know Him. It’s just as much a part of the design of humanity as lungs, heart, and intestines—a very basic element, indeed.
Having that intimate, joyful, peaceful relationship with our loving, almighty creator is one of the most important foundations for the other relationships in our lives. It lends strength to our marriages, strength to our working relationships, strength to literally every area of our lives. An intimate relationship with God is, without a doubt, one of the most important principles in achieving success in this life.
Sadly, some people go through their entire lives without knowing the satisfaction and joy that results from filling that void in their hearts with the one and only thing that it was designed to contain–the very Spirit and Presence of God. They go off into a Godless eternity, without knowing the eternal satisfaction of the intimate, close relationship with God that He Himself designed them to desire. There are those who dull that gnawing hunger to know God with such popular anesthetics as wealth, fame, achievement, or some form of drug, such as alcohol, cocaine, or any number of similar nerve deadeners. We try to stuff the “God-Shaped hole” with awards, notoriety, or possessions. These may work for a time, but they soon lose their effectiveness and the vacuum in their hearts demands more satisfaction, because the “stuff” that we try to put in there just doesn’t fill the void.
You can anesthetize your heart all you want to, and it won’t change the basic design parameters. You will never know true satisfaction in life until you know the living God–honestly, personally, and intimately.
Are you ready for that intimate relationship with God? You might want to read this.