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Intimacy with Christ

Written by Stephen Buckley

We Americans like to boast in our busyness. We humble-brag to our friends and family about the long hours we work, our crammed weekend, all our plans (both on the job and at play) in the coming weeks. And it’s all usually punctuated by a faux-dramatic sigh.

(We are, of course, not too busy for Tik Tok and Facebook and Instagram, but that’s another post.)

Let me say this: busyness is not bad. Being overwhelmed and distracted and constantly anxious—that’s bad. And that’s where many of us find ourselves.

Jesus offers an antidote: intimacy with Him. In a world aswirl with activity, He calls us to calm. To hang out with Him. To sit and stay a while.

In John’s gospel, there’s a recurring picture: the disciple reclining against Jesus. No other disciple depicts himself this way, which suggests that no other disciple rested against Jesus’ chest. This is the same John who captured Jesus’ command to, “Abide with me.”

I suspect this isn’t a coincidence. At some point, this Son of Thunder learned that transformation comes by being in Christ’s presence. That making Jesus our home, as The Message puts it, changes us in ways that are deeper and sweeter than we know.

John also called himself the Beloved. That’s probably not a coincidence either. One result of hanging out with Jesus is that he reminds us relentlessly of how much He loves us. He does that in many ways—by bringing to mind scripture, sermons, spiritual songs, and memories of His goodness in years and days past.

Time with Him often reminds us of the power of salvation. In my own life, I find that Christ is always bringing me back to the Cross. Having a lousy week (or month or year)? Anguished by disappointment and hurt? Doubting God’s goodness? His answer is always the same: Look to the cross.

It is hard to find time for Jesus. That’s especially true for those of us with young children. Suzanna Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley – both of whom became legendary preachers and hymn writers – had nine kids. When she needed to spend time with God, she perched herself on a chair in the corner of her kitchen and hid her head in a dishtowel. We may have to get creative too.

Ultimately, time with Jesus speeds up, and deepens, our surrender. It is hard to trust people we haven’t spent much time with. When we make time for Jesus, our trust in Him takes root, which makes it easier for us to give ourselves wholly to him.

All of this takes patience, especially with ourselves. There will be seasons when days and weeks whoosh by without our sitting with the One who loves us beyond measure and beyond reason. That’s okay. He will always be waiting, with open arms. He will always welcome us home. And he’ll always make our time with Him worth it.

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