Are You in a Thin Place?

Dry Canyon

If I ask if you are in a thin place, you may conclude that I’m either asking about dieting or ice skating. I’m not. I recently learned about thin places from a blog, “Between Fangs And Feathers” by Steve Lummer.

The idea of “thin places” traces back to Celtic Christians, but all of us have been in them; we just didn’t have a name for them. A “thin place” is where heaven and earth nearly touch each other. For example, my wife and I were at a church fellowship supper a while back. During a conversation with another couple, we learned that the wife had undergone a near-death experience; she was dead for several minutes. She told us she was overwhelmed by heaven’s stunning beauty, but God had her return to her dead body. That’s a thin place!

Mr. Lummer referenced the temptation of Jesus to help us understand “thin places.”

And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.

Mark 1:13 ESV

Jesus was “with the wild animals.” He was in this bleak world occupied by wolves, lions, and other apex predators. At the same time, Jesus was ministered to by angels whose homes were in heaven. For Jesus of Nazareth, the separation between Earth and Heaven was small, a thin place. The same is true for Jacob when he wrestled an angel1 and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they were thrown into a blazing furnace2.

If you or I find ourselves in life-threatening situations – cancer, vehicular accident, imminent danger – we are in a thin place. But thin places are not only about death; they can happen during spiritual mountaintops. The Holy Spirit may reveal a deeper meaning to a passage of Scripture, or He may use His gifts through us:

7 The Holy Spirit is given to each of us in a special way. That is for the good of all. 8 To some people the Spirit gives a message of wisdom. To others the same Spirit gives a message of knowledge. 9 To others the same Spirit gives faith. To others that one Spirit gives gifts of healing. 10 To others he gives the power to do miracles. To others he gives the ability to prophesy. To others he gives the ability to tell the spirits apart. To others he gives the ability to speak in different kinds of languages they had not known before. And to still others he gives the ability to explain what was said in those languages. 11 All the gifts are produced by one and the same Spirit. He gives gifts to each person, just as he decides.

1 Corinthians 12:4–11 NLT

We become aware of thin places during extraordinary events in our lives. Knowing that there are such things as thin places can add to our courage. As Christians, if we pay attention and pray continually, we will find that we can constantly touch God while walking by faith through this world that seeks to devour us.

Photo by Dziana Hasanbekava

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[1]: Genesis 32:22–31 NLT – Jacob Wrestles with God – Bible Gateway. Biblegateway.
[2]: Daniel 3:16–28 NLT – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – Bible Gateway. Biblegateway.

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