“The enemy of intimacy is secrecy.” I immediately wrote it down, scrambling for pen and paper. It was just one small point of many made by the facilitator of our premarital counseling session that day, but it is the one that resonated most.
How many times has it played out true in your life?
Maybe in a relationship? You want to grow closer to this other person but you sense a wall, defenses up, something standing in the way. There is just something not being said, something not being shared. Intimacy won’t develop without openness, authenticity, vulnerability.
Maybe in the organization where you work? You want to see it prosper and thrive, but not everyone is on the same page, communication isn’t great, transparency is non-existent. There is the inside circle, and everyone else. A lack of trust, humility, and collaboration will only result in floundering instead of flourishing.
Or maybe in your faith life? You go through the motions, and say all the words, but something is still missing. It feels dry. You’re not getting fed. After a while of wandering in a seemingly endless desert, you give up, having lost all desire to try any harder.
Of all the prophets in the Old Testament, Jeremiah is the one who we get to know most intimately. He holds nothing back. He lays it all out there. He’s an example to us and can teach us a thing or two about true intimacy. This weekend we’ll learn from Jeremiah what intimacy requires, what hinders it from developing, and why it is so essential to our relationship with God and our relationship with one another.
“You know where I am, God! Remember what I’m doing here! Take my side against my detractors. Don’t stand back while they ruin me. Just look at the abuse I’m taking! When your words showed up, I ate them—swallowed them whole. What a feast! What delight I took in being yours, O God, God-of-the-Angel-Armies! I never joined the party crowd in their laughter and their fun. Led by you, I went off by myself. You’d filled me with indignation. Their sin had me seething. But why, why this chronic pain, this ever worsening wound and no healing in sight?You’re nothing, God, but a mirage, a lovely oasis in the distance—and then nothing!” (Jeremiah 15:15-18, The Message)