I have a friend who recently went to Ireland to visit some of the Thin Places. Another friend wrote a beautiful blog about them.
I know they are places in the world where it does indeed feel like the distance between Heaven and Earth is less.
In my life, however, Thin Places turn out to be something else entirely.
They are the places I run from God. When I’m too angry, too hurt, too not-understanding, too exhausted, too overwhelmed, too perplexed, too furious. I. A.M. M.A.D. and I. A.M. D.O.N.E.
You see I’ve tried. I’ve been available, I’ve been focused, I’ve been aware, I’ve been faithful, I’ve held onto hope, I’ve persevered… AND NOTHING.
NOTHING apparently. And so I run and I run and I run and I run. Knowing all the time that God is right there with me, tracking, clocking, waiting.
I am running as fast as I can on a treadmill which (if I stopped to think about it) is on the flatbed of a moving truck. I am losing oxygen, the air is thinner, I’m seeing stars, my muscles are breaking down, my thoughts are escaping, I’m dehydrating, I can’t hold onto a plan. I am exhausting myself because I am just going to show Him.
Really, Josie. And what exactly are you going to show Him? That you’re just going to do it on your own now? That you’re just going to take your life back because even you could do a better job?
Poof, Good Luck with that.
When I finally give up running, exhausted, sweaty, furious and extremely put out, I discover this: I am in the thinnest place of all.
I have used up all my own resources which has left me with nothing to hide behind. I have nothing. I have. Nothing. There is nothing left to separate Him and me.
I can almost hear Him waiting. His presence seeping into my cells as the moments tick by. As my breath slows and there is only silence left.
And I hear it. The still small voice. No “answers,” no “revelation,” no “solution,” but Presence.
“Are you ready yet, Josie? … No rush.”
“OK. There’s a view coming up I want you to see. Take a break?”
With jelly legs and weepy eyes, I step down off the treadmill. I climb up front and drop into the passenger seat. I look at my Companion and the tears well up even more.
I lay my head against His shoulder and close my eyes. I have simply come back to where I was before all the running began: safely in the embrace of The Driver.
Maybe my own Thin Places aren’t any different from those others after all.