Last night in small group we were talking about meeting God in thin places.
A thin place is where the space between the material world and the spiritual world is thin. It is easy to see God, feel God, know God, be with God. These places are different for everyone, but they leave you knowing that you just met with God. They can be in nature, or in worship, or alone in a quiet place. I can think of three times in my life when I have seen God the greatest, and they have all been on top of mountains.
The first is Square Butte in Rocky Boy, Montana. If you have never been to Montana, you are missing out. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, perhaps second only to South Africa. It was July of 2007, I was 17 and on my first missions trip on Rocky Boy Indian Reservation. The first night we were there, we drove in 15 passenger vans up a dusty, rocky mountain. It was a very bumpy ride. The drivers couldn’t see in front of them because it was so dusty and impossible to steer the vans on such a rugged terrain that they clearly were not made for. When we got to the top, we had a while to look around and take in the magnificent view. There had been a lot of wild fires that summer, but one of the leaders, Josh, said that we were still able to see about 40 miles out. On a good day we would have been able to see 150 miles. I can’t even fathom that amount of distance. The thousands of people that were down there, living their lives that I would never intersect. God put each of them on this Earth for a reason and has an intricate plan for each of their lives, but I may never have the chance to impact even 50 of them. How vast and incredible that is! The group came back together and we had the beautiful opportunity to worship while the sun was setting and we looked out over the vast expanse of Montana. We sang ‘How Great is Our God.’ I never wanted to leave, and I would go back in an instant.
The second is on Mount Everest in Harrismith, South Africa. A year later in July, when I was 18, I was part of an internship team of 16 serving with Thrive Africa. Mount Everest is not THE Mount Everest, but still a mountain worthy of hiking. I had the pleasure of hiking up twice. (I’ve written about my sunrise experience.) The base of Mount Everest boasts 6,000 feet above sea level. The mountain is another 1,000 feet (I think). It was not an easy hike to say the least. It was a similar experience as I had on Square Butte, but this was in Africa, though I have to admit, I didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have at the time. I’m not sure how far out I could see into South Africa, but it was magnificently breathtaking. I wrote in my journal that day, “The view was beautiful, although I have to say, Square Butte in Montana was much more breathtaking. This was cool because we were really high up and could see a vast expanse of land…” Though Montana meant a lot to me, South Africa has been imprinted on my heart forever.
The third time was on the top of Smith Rock in Oregon. Last summer I went with the seniors of my high school youth group, some of my best friends, on a senior trip to celebrate their graduation. We went to Sun River in Oregon and one day we got to go hiking on Smith Rock. The hike wasn’t hard until the switchbacks near the top. I was out of shape which made it even more difficult. When we reached the top, I had the same feeling as I had on top of Square Butte. The cars were small ants, and we could see for miles! God loves each of those truck drivers, farmers, people in every house. I will never know any of those people, yet God knows each of them, intimately. Only some will choose to know Him too. How great is the love of God!