I see it quite often as I counsel with people. I am aware of its affect on me daily. It is an experience we all long for, and yet are most afraid of. It is the desire to be known–fully known, and still accepted. The more we are known and accepted, the more we feel safe and loved.
It is true of me however, as I am sure it is just as true of you. There are parts of me I don’t want to be seen or known because I am afraid of how you might respond. Will you roll your eyes, tell me you don’t understand, tire of my struggles, or walk away in disgust? Or will you listen to know me, identify with my struggles, and thank me for sharing? Those are the questions and fears we encounter in our relationships every day.
We want to relax and know that even in the midst of all the good and bad we see in ourselves, that we are still loved. We grow weary of hiding behind walls. But we are afraid.
In our fear, we dance out of step in our relationships, just enough to keep anyone from getting too close. We want to be known but we don’t.
Soon we will be celebrating Christmas. I love Christmas for a host of reasons including the joy of giving and receiving gifts. Another reason is because of the name–Immanuel, meaning “God with us.” Every year I get lost in amazement over that name of Jesus.
There was a time, all the way back in the beginning, when God was with man–in the Garden of Eden. We don’t know how long it lasted, but we do know it ended. Adam and Eve made a decision to walk in a direction other than God wished for them. The result was separation. God remained in the Garden. Mankind was set outside. They were no longer with each other.
From that day until now, man has felt an aloneness he was never meant to experience. And from that day until now, God’s heart has been to reunite us with Him.
We saw it first in the beginning of the Bible when God commanded Moses to build a tabernacle wherein He could meet with Moses. God said: “I will live among the people of Israel and be their God.” (Exodus 29:45) Do you see? God longed to be with His people. Immanuel, God with us.
Then we see it later in the Bible where Jesus–who was God in flesh–came so He could live and make His home among us. (John 1:14) Immanuel!!
Think about it. What leader of a country or King of any nation has ever wanted to live among his people? And yet God–the King of all Kings–longs to do that very thing! IMMANUEL!
It gets even better. Jesus called His followers “friends.” (John 15:15)
You and I are invited to follow Jesus so that He might call us friends! He wants to know us and for us to know Him.
Recently I was talking with a friend about how much we enjoy our relationship. My wife and I regularly talk about how much we enjoy being with each other. Wonderful and rich experiences, and yet I am lost in amazement that God Himself wants to know and enjoy us!
This Christmas season, take some time to reflect on the idea that God wants you close to Him. He wants to be with you. That is why He sent Jesus to earth. He really does love you and me! God wants to be your friend. He wants to be known by you. Through Him, we can experience the satisfaction of the greatest longing of our hearts–to be fully known and yet fully loved.