Most people crave close companionship; to know and be known; to love and be loved. To laugh and cry together. Some are blessed to find it.
But there is a risk to intimacy isn’t there? What if he/she sees that dark corner of my soul? Will they still love me if they know everything about me?
I heard of one couple who read part of a novel to each other last thing every night before falling asleep. They took it in turns, a chapter at a time. He would have a different voice for each character, and the voices made her smile. One voice, in particular, made her giggle every time. Sometimes the story evoked a memory, occasionally a painful one and they would stop and talk it through. Tears were shared freely as they deepened their understanding of each other.
To see and connect with another person’s heart takes many things, not least time, patience, love, forgiveness, trust and vulnerability. Many who find it would say the risk was worth it. But not everyone does.
If we are honest, in most relationships we barely penetrate the surface of another’s fears, thoughts and feelings. And it is easy to make assumptions, usually wrong ones.
The good news is that we can have a deep, loving relationship with God. The offer is open to all.
For starters, ‘The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ (1 Sam 16: 7). God does not need to patiently wait for your heart to be revealed like humans do. He sees it from afar and He knows it in a moment. And He still loves you. The tragedy of Adam and Eve is that instead of owning up to their guilt, they tried to hide from God. Instead of acknowledging their sin and repenting of it, they made every effort to cover it.
The Lord, who searches the heart and examines the mind, including every shade of darkness (Jer 17: 9 – 10), longs for us to turn our gaze towards him (Jer 5: 3) with a humble and honest heart. With a repentant heart. God would rather enter the dark corners with us, with his holiness and forgiveness, than leave us as orphans.
One step towards knowing God’s heart of love is to allow it to envelope our shame. To admit that my sin has caused pain and disorder, but to then touch nail-scarred hands and look into forgiving eyes. To receive the love that is all-seeing, all-knowing and unwavering.
To grow closer in relationship with other humans takes time, and shared journeys. It is the same with God. But it is different too. He does see everything from day one, but his love eclipses all of it. Is it really possible to love and be loved? Absolutely. With God, all things are possible.