There is a saying: To know someone is to love him/her. That is exactly what it takes for mutual love to develop. In the olden days, many marriages were arranged by matchmakers. A grandmother, whose marriage was an arranged one, told me that she had not known her spouse until the day of her wedding itself. That is to say, she married him without any feeling of love for him at all, not to mention the slightest knowledge of him at all! As another saying goes, rì jiǔ shēng qíng (日久生情), this couple’s mutual love developed as the days went by. We can conclude that time spent together, mutual commitment (be it in a marriage or otherwise), and mutual effort are essential ingredients for people to get to know each other better.
The same goes in our relationship with God. How else can we ever have an intimate and a loving relationship with him if we do not get to know him better? If we know him only superficially, we will experience an up-and-down relationship with him. At times feeling he is near to us and at times feeling he is far from us. Is God really like that – coming near us and going far away from us intermittently?
Far from it! God is always near to us. James understood this. Therefore, he said, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8a). He has promised that he will not leave us, and he never breaks his promises. David understood this as well, as evident in Psalm 23:4: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me….”
In Psalm 63:3, we can see David’s intimate and loving relationship with God. He says, “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.” The key to David’s intimate and loving relationship with God is that he set aside time to communicate with God. Most of his psalms are his prayers to God. That is the reason the NASB entitles many of David’s psalms as prayers: Morning Prayer of Trust in God (Psalm 3), Evening Prayer of Trust in God (Psalm 4), Prayer for Protection from the Wicked (Psalm 5), Prayer for Mercy in Time of Trouble (Psalm 6), Prayer for Protection against Oppressors (Psalm 17), Protestation of Integrity, and Prayer for Protection (Psalm 26), A Prayer for Help (Psalm 28), and others.
To develop an intimate and a loving relationship with God, we have to know him personally rather than just to know about him. There is a vast difference between the two. Intimacy is more than mere knowledge. It is something that cannot be obtained by simply accumulating knowledge. Intimacy with God can only be developed by spending time with him. When we do so, as time goes by, we will get to know and understand him better. And with that, we will also know his love and will for us.
Developing an intimate and a loving relationship with God takes time, commitment and effort. Let us begin today to make the effort and the commitment to set aside regular time to communicate with him, as David did. The more we know him, the greater our love will be for him. As a result, our intimate and loving relationship with him will not be an up-and-down relationship, but will be one that withstands the test of time for all eternity. God is waiting for you and me to draw near to him. Let us do so.