WHERE THE THIN PLACES BEGIN
“It’s like you’re driving into the sky,” I murmur. Out the window of our rental car, narrow Northern Irish roads weave into the clouds on the horizon.
Most people visit the North Coast to see the Giant’s Causeway. A natural wonder of the world where it’s suspected an ancient volcano erupted off-shore, and its molten lava collided with chalk beds. When the lava cooled it contracted and formed perfect hexagons of stone that run along the North Coast.
IT CAN’T BE A COINCIDENCE. THAT THE VERY SAME PLACES WE FEEL EXPOSED AND VULNERABLE ARE THE PLACES GOD FEELS CLOSEST AND MOST PRESENT.
But as I gaze up at the heavy blue sky I know why I’m drawn north year after year, and it’s not for the Causeway. It’s because this is where the sky kisses the earth. With all it’s cliffs, jagged beaches and green, hilly pastures, nothing quite competes with the sense being pressed up against the atmosphere. Like you can reach up and grab a cloud.
Celtic tradition has a term for these places, where earth and heaven brush cheeks, they're called the thin places. Places where the presence of God is more tangible, where the gap between our reality and God’s stops feeling wide and uncrossable.
Thin enough to hear a whisper, to see through to the other side.
Thinness is breathable and transparent. It’s vulnerable and weak. Like dough overstretched, Thin Places are areas of defenselessness. And then sometimes, they're places of sheer and breezy beauty.
It can’t be a coincidence. That the very same places we feel exposed and vulnerable are the places God feels closest and most present.
We pass sheep lazily chewing grass, like they have for centuries, and I can’t help but feel this year has been one of pronounced thinness. Like chalk beds contracting, the thin vulnerable areas of my life have surfaced. Maybe it’s transition, maybe it’s the road to adulthood, to spiritual maturity, but this year has been one vast thin place with no where to hide.
But in the thinness I’ve found nearness. In thin vulnerability, I’ve learned things about myself, the world and God. It’s painful being stretched. But it’s even more beautiful when through the silky film He proves— yet again— to be enough.
IN THE THINNESS I’VE FOUND NEARNESS.
The Thin Places is a collection of 30 devotional essays that seek God in the places we tend to feel most vulnerable. My hope is that together we can seek to transform our Thin Places from fields of doubt, shame and insecurity, to places that let in the life-breath and presence of God. Here in our hearts, here in The Thin Places.