“I just want someone who will see me – really see me and love me for who I am.”
Have you ever sat alone, lamenting over the failed or broken relationships in your life and thought something along those lines? I certainly have. If I had to guess, I’d think it’s pretty normal for us to long for that kind of intimacy. We all want to be loved deeply and without condition and to know and be known by another. But would it surprise you to know that in God’s love letter to us – the Bible, we discover He feels that way too?
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Does God Desire To Know and Be Known?
I don’t know about you, but it’s kind of hard for me to think of God as someone who has longings, let alone to imagine Him wanting anything from me! After all, He is perfect and whole. He’s not like me. He’s not broken and lonely. There is no insecurity in Him. Unlike me, He doesn’t need anything apart from Himself to be complete. But then, I guess we don’t have to need something in order to want it, huh?
A child does not need the love and acceptance of a parent in order to survive, and yet every single one of us was born with that longing woven deep into the fabric of who we are. None of us needs to find a spouse who will walk through this life with us in order to be happy and successful, and yet most of us crave such a relationship. I guess desires are rarely necessitated upon need. So there’s no reason why God couldn’t have desires, though it is still hard to imagine they might include me.
But hard to imagine or not, the Bible is clear that while there aren’t many things that stir the longings of God’s heart, to know and be known by His people is one of them. We can see a great illustration of this during the time when God became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. On at least three separate occasions (Matthew 23, Luke 19, and Luke 13) during His life Jesus lamented the rejection of His people, weeping more than once at the realization that He could not gather them to Himself and lavish His love upon them.
Luke 13:34 – O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.
But even long before Jesus came to earth in order to die, providing a way for us to have relationship with Him once again, His chosen people rejected Him and broke His heart. In fact we’ve been doing that since the beginning of time. And in Hosea, God clearly and concisely spells out exactly what it is He longs for from us.
Hosea 6:4-7 – “O Israel and Judah, what should I do with you?” asks the Lord.
“For your love vanishes like the morning mist and disappears like dew in the sunlight.
I sent my prophets to cut you to pieces – to slaughter you with my Words, with judgements as inescapable as light.
I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.
But like Adam, you broke my covenant and betrayed my trust.
And there you have it. God Himself mourning over the unfulfilled longing to be known and loved. It breaks my heart to think of it. And as someone who knows what it is to feel that way, I can’t help but wonder how many times my actions have been the cause of His suffering.
How To Know and Be Known By God
Thankfully, our God is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry, and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness (Ps. 86:15). Despite our shortcomings, He continues to pursue us and won’t ever give up on those who belong to Him! Beyond that, He already knows us completely and perfectly. He even knows us better than we know ourselves, because He knows not only who we are now, but who we were before, and who we will be later.
So we may go around longing to be seen and deeply understood, but the truth is we are already more completely known than we can even imagine. And still He loves us! Don’t believe me? Take a look at the 139th chapter of Psalms in God’s love letter to us.
O Lord, You have examined my heart and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
You place Your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!
I can never escape from Your Spirit! I can never get away from Your presence!
If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I go down to the grave, You are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there Your hand will guide me, and Your strength will support me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night – but even in darkness I cannot hide from You.
To You the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to You.
You made all the delicate inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank-you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment laid out before a single day had passed.
How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up, You are still with me!
O God, if only You would destroy the wicked!
Get out of my life, you murderers!
They blaspheme You; Your enemies misuse Your Name.
O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate You? Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose You?
Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for Your enemies are my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
In our quest to know and be known by God, isn’t it good to know that the first part is already perfectly done? All that’s left is for us to know Him, and the great news is, He has made Himself known.
Isaiah 45:18-19 – For the Lord is God, and He created the heavens and the earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos.
“I am the Lord,” He says, “and there is no other. I publicly proclaim bold promises. I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner. I would not have told the people of Israel to seek Me if I could not be found. I, the Lord, speak only what is true and declare only what is right.”
Acts 17:24-28 – He is the God who made the whole world and everything in it. Since He is Lord of heaven and earth, He doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve His needs – for He has no needs. He Himself gives life and breath to everything, and He satisfies every need. From one man He created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and He determined their boundaries.
His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him – though He is not far from any one of us. For in Him we live and move and exist.
The Bible tells us God has revealed Himself to us through His magnificent creation (Romans 1:20, Psalm 19:1-4), through the person of Jesus Christ(Colossians 1:15-20, John 1:18), through personal revelation which comes through the indwelling Holy Spirit in our lives(1 Corinthians 2:9-11), through His church (Ephesians 3:1-13), and through God’s love letter to us – the Bible(2 Peter 1:16-21, 2 Timothy 3:14-17 ).
The thing is, there is no better place to learn about how and why creation points to God than in the Bible, and there’s also no better place to find out everything there is to know about the person of Jesus Christ! The Bible, being the very words of God Himself, is also the most common tool the Holy Spirit uses to speak to us personally, and it’s the manual by which we understand how the church reflects her Lord and Savior. That’s right, the Bible is God’s love letter to us, filled with every word we need to know and be known by God!
God’s Love Letter and So Much More
Can you imagine how you would feel if you spent hours and hours over a long period of time (let’s say years) pouring your heart out into a letter to the one you love and then it was left unopened on a table day after day? If you spent all that time not just telling the person you love how you feel about him but also carefully spelling out everything he needs to know to understand you on the most intimate level, it would be a huge slap in the face for that letter to be ignored. Right?
And yet, that is exactly what God has done in the Bible. He spent thousands of years, carefully and intentionally breathing His words into the minds of His prophets. Every single word was meant to cultivate intimacy between Him and us as it shows us how to know and be known by Him. It is God’s love letter to His bride – the church.
Ephesians 5:25-27 – Christ loved the church. He gave up His life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s Word. He did this to present her to Himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.
I mean, what if the person you love most in the world did something this elaborate and intimate for you? Can you imagine how it would make you feel? If you found a love letter filled with every piece of information you could ever need to understand his heart, and in revealing his heart to you he showed you that he completely and perfectly saw you, knew you, and loved you, would you ignore that letter? Would it sit gathering dust in some corner of your house? Or would you pour over it night and day?
I am deeply convicted as I consider these questions! I love the Word of God, but I don’t think it holds the place in my heart that such a letter would hold. If my husband gave me such a treasure, I would cherish it forever! I would read it and re-read it and find comfort and security in it. God’s love letter should be every bit as valuable to me! Nothing less should satisfy me – or any of us!
How Will You Savor God’s Love Letter this Year?
So if none of us should be satisfied with anything less than a deep and insatiable hunger for the Word of God, let’s not close this out without an action plan. We have established that the God of the Universe, the High King of Heaven, the Lord God Almighty longs to know and be known by us. The very thought should overwhelm us! It is unimaginable, and yet it is true! And in His love, He has left us with a gift. A treasure beyond imagination. He has given us God’s love letter. Let us spend our days devouring it!
One of the best ways I have found to do this is with a Bible reading plan. Do you have one? There are hundreds available. I recommend one that will lead you through the whole thing in a period of time. After all, we know that every single word of Scripture is part of God’s love letter, so why would we leave out any part of it? Let’s choose to savor every chapter, every verse from Genesis through Revelation, for each and every word reveals a piece of God and His heart to us.
There are plans that will take you through the Bible in a year, in two years, in 90 days, or in six months. There are plans that will lead you through in the order it is presented, others that will take you through in chronological order, and those that will take you through in some other pattern.
My personal favorite has always been The One Year Bible plan which presents a passage from the Old Testament (from Genesis through Malachi minus Psalms and Proverbs), a passage from the New Testament (from Matthew through Revelation), a passage from Psalms, and a passage from Proverbs each day. But recently, I have been going through a Bible in 90 Days plan, and I really loved that one too! As soon as I finish it I plan to do this, The One Year Chronological Bible plan.
Can I give you a couple little tips that have really helped me develop a daily Bible reading habit and stick with it?
- Don’t get hung up on the schedule or what the plan tells you to do. If you miss a day, don’t worry about it. Just pick up where you left off and keep going. You’ll get through it when you get through it. If it takes a year, fine. If it takes longer, no big deal. You still read through the whole Bible! The point isn’t to stick to a schedule. The point is to read the whole thing and savor the opportunity to know and be known by God!
- Find a time that works for you and how you are wired. It doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning. Are you a night owl? Do it at night! Are you an early bird? Do it in the morning. Is your lunch hour when you have quiet time available? Do it at lunch! Just do it when you are most likely to be successful.
- Don’t be unrealistic with your expectations. Don’t start out with a 90 day plan, which requires about an hour of reading every day…. you are setting yourself up to fail. Start small and establish the habit. THEN bite off bigger chunks as your hunger grows!
- Do it every day. Don’t take the weekends off. The more consistent you are the easier it is to form a habit.
Now go choose a plan and dig into God’s love letter to you. Enjoy it friend! You are so very deeply loved and cherished by the Lord God Almighty! Let that truth define you and inspire every part of who you are!