By Dennis Roy Maynard, D. MIN.
In my own journey it has been in the silence that i have been able to know the intimacy of God.
The Psalmist stood looking up into the sky. He considered the vastness of the universe and asked, “What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:4). Contemplating the vastness that surrounded him he felt insignificant. He thought of himself as but a small dot staring into an unending night sky. Our own proportion in the universe can seem minute with each new discovery that reveals the boundless expanse of the universe. We too may be tempted to ponder the question asked on that starlit night. The Creator of the Universe can seem so far away. Such a God can appear remote and unapproachable. We are tempted to view ourselves as small and inconsequential.
The prophet Elijah was feeling very unappreciated and insignificant. He complained to God. God told him to go stand on a mountain because he was going to pass by him. There was a strong wind. Then came an earthquake. The shaking ground was followed by a fire. God was not in any of them. “After the fire came a sound of sheer silence. Elijah heard it and wrapped his face in a mantle” (I Kings 19:13).
In my own journey it has been in the silence that I have been able to know the intimacy of God. When the storms in my life have appeared overwhelming, I had to learn to quiet the conversation in my mind. Even in the midst of turmoil I only needed to listen for the silence so that I could hear that little inner voice. It is on those occasions that I have known “the peace that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). It is in that silence that I know Him and feel known by Him. It is then that I am able to commune intimately with the Almighty.
That peace comes not because of all my questions, doubts and problems have suddenly been removed. It is on those occasions that I am reminded of the comforting promises in this book. I recall that God reminded the Psalmist, ‘The Almighty knit me together in my mothers’ womb. While I was being made in secret God’s eyes beheld my unformed substance’(Psalm 139:13-16).
When my soul is filled with fear and anxiety the words of Jesus strengthen me. “Five sparrows are sold for two pennies. Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. Even in the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:6-7). On those occasions that I feel inconsequential, lost in the vastness of the universe or the billions of nameless faces that share this planet with me, the inner voice of God lifts me. Jesus “calls his sheep by name” (John 10:3).
The Lord God of the Universe knows my name! He has known me since my mothers’ womb. God has even numbered the hairs on my head. I am able to have an intimate relationship with God not because I completely understand the Creator. I am able to do so even though the ways of the Almighty remain a mystery to me. My intimacy with God is made possible because He knows me so very well.
Moses asked God to give him his name. God responded, “I Am who I Am” (Exodus 3:14). For centuries the faithful knew God simply as The Great I Am. Jesus taught us to call Abba (Luke 11:2). The most accurate translation for Abba is “da-da” … daddy. Jesus is telling us that God loves us and cares for us as a loving daddy cares for his children.
A pastor visited with a women being overwhelmed by the storms in her life. She was filled with fear and anxiety. Her mind and heart were consumed with doubt about the very existence of God. The pastor attempted to reassure her, but his efforts were falling deaf ears. He then picked up a photo of a young girl that was sitting on the woman’s dresser. “Who is this?” He asked, “That’s my daughter. “The woman smiled. “So, you love her very much,” The woman nodded. “There is nothing that I wouldn’t do for her. She is the most important person in my life.” The pastor placed the photo back on the dresser and turned to face the woman. “God has your photo on his dresser. He loves you even more than you love your daughter.”
We are able to have an intimate relationship with God simply because our Father knows us so very well. When we sit quietly and read the words of His great love for us contained in Holy Scripture the restless ness in our souls is quieted. We can know him because He knows us. We know Him intimately because He makes Himself known to us. He knows your name!
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”—John 17:3
“…and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. “Ephesians 3:19
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:
- What does it mean to know God intimately?
- What practical ways can you think of to develop this intimacy for yourself?