Over the past months, I have waged spiritual war on a level higher than ever before. And during it, I’ve felt an unusual desperation: a pain–wracked plea for intervention only God can provide and the humbling acknowledgment all is lost if He doesn’t show up.
But I’ve also discovered a deep intimacy, one of total reliance on Him and His warring angels. There is an undercurrent of trust. A surety his timing is perfect. The victory is—and always has been—His, and He will see me through to the end. Grown through each battle, I have a deeper confidence as I approach the throne. Not only will He hear my plea, He will bring forth the full might of Heaven if needed. I have to admit, I relish in that intimacy, that security.
“I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip, your Protector will not slumber. Indeed, the Protector of Israel does not slumber or sleep. The Lord protects you; the Lord is a shelter right by your side. The sun will not strike you by day or the moon by night. The Lord will protect you from all harm; He will protect your life. The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever.” Psalms 121:1-8 HCSB
But then there is another type of intimacy with God, one found in times of rest; a quietness in being rather than doing. Comrades rather than comrades in arms. Simply sitting in His presence with no agenda, no battle. It is sweet and nurturing. But I’ll be honest, I’m not 100% comfortable with it.
It removes my armor and lowers my sword, revealing vulnerabilities and exposing weaknesses. I know. Who better to trust with weakness than the One who created me? He already knows my innermost being. It was His hand that formed me. His thoughts that set my personality and character in order. And He knew every situation that would make me who I am.
But why would a God who calls us to war also call us to be vulnerable? Wouldn’t He want us battle-hardened in order to best bring about His victory on the earth? Wouldn’t vulnerability be the last thing He would want?
Maybe, maybe not.
Psalms 62:8 HCSB Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is our refuge.
Pour out is the Hebrew word shaphak: to pour out, pour, gush, dump. Okay, so, the Lord wants me to dump my heart at His feet. To let it gush…to lower my guard and let Him in. That’s definitely a vulnerability.
I don’t know about you, but I can count the number of people I feel comfortable gushing my heart out to on one hand (minus a few fingers), and the Almighty is wanting to be among that number. That’s pretty heady stuff.
And then, there’s this:
Therefore the Lord is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the Lord is a just God. Isaiah 30:18a HCSB
Waiting is the Hebrew word chakah: to wait, await, longs. So, He doesn’t merely want to show us mercy, He longs to do so. The God of the universe who supports me in the battles I wage also longs to be compassionate to me and wants me to dump my every weakness at His feet. He’s longing for this intimacy in rest.
But…I have to be willing to lay down my armor, to choose vulnerability. He won’t make me. Wow.
He is the warrior who saves, yes, but also the Father who loves. Two different intimacies. Yet both characteristics of the same God. How do we integrate them, then? I think it can best be summed up in one verse:
Yahweh your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy. Zephaniah 3:17 HCSB
And there it is Intimacy in war. Intimacy in peace.