Through my life thus far, I have encountered numerous thin spaces. You know the kind. Those physical places where God just seems so much tangibly closer.
Ten years ago, Aaron and I lived in the glorious Rocky Mountains of Colorado. And oh how those mountains are a thin space for me. Maybe it’s the thin air, but I can hear God so much more clearly when I’m in the mountains surrounded by his creation. There was one park in particular in Colorado Springs where Aaron and I would go to spend the afternoon thinking, reading, and praying laying on a blanket staring up at the towering Rockies. God called us to start Camp Machaceh during our time living in the mountains and many a conversation about camp happened in that very park. Thin spaces.
Another thin space for me came a few years later. Aaron and I were on a trip with other students from Truett Seminary in Greece. We were following in Paul’s footsteps across the country, and one of our first stops was in Philippi. There walking among the ruins of this ancient city through the very agora where Paul was arrested, I experienced God’s presence so tangibly. It was as if his spirit lingered in this ancient place, and I could almost breathe his spirit deeply into my lungs. A thin space.
And now here I sit in yet another thin space. By the bedside of my mother in law as she transitions from life here on earth to life eternal with Jesus our Savior. And this is perhaps the thinnest of spaces. This space where heaven breaks into our world, our reality and takes a saint home.
God is here. He is very tangibly present with us. He is with Nancy with each breath she takes. He is with each person who squeezes her hand and says “I love you.” He is with each family member and friend as we grieve and say goodbye. He is with us as we read Scripture together and pray. I especially noticed his presence as we sang hymns around her bed tonight. God is with us. His spirit is tangible here. The air oozes with his presence. A very thin space.
One of the names for Jesus is Emmanuel or God with Us. And I can say that I have truly experienced Jesus as God with us over the last few weeks. He is a God who steps into our trials and our sufferings. He doesn’t just watch it from afar and say “There, there. You’ll be ok.” No. Instead he wades right in and sits with us and walks with us through the dark valleys. And tonight as Aaron and I sit and wait with Nancy for her final transition, we know that God is truly with us in this thinnest of spaces and holiest of moments.