The Thin Place of Questions


thin-space-questionsBy Shawn Kiger

The other night at the high school Bible study that I host at my home, we were talking about the thin spaces in our lives: those times when the distance between heaven and earth feels thin, and we are experiencing the presence of God in the moment.

At first it seemed like things were not going to go well with this topic. I asked them to share about a time when they felt like God was at work in that moment and was close to them. The room was mostly silent, which never happens with 20 teenagers in my living room. One youth raised his hand and mentioned a mission trip we recently went on but couldn’t name a specific moment. I reworded the question but still nothing.   This was going to be a long night!

So I decided to ask them if they thought God is actively involved in the world. This opened up a 45-minute discussion that first led me to believe I was failing at my job. Some stated they believed God created us but after that left us to our own desires. One said God planned out their entire lives including the day we die. This opened up a conversation on free will. One wondered why God chose Jesus to come to earth along time ago instead of now.  Which wasn’t really on topic but still an interesting question.

This entire time I was thinking to myself, Where have I gone wrong? I thought of all the times I have pointed out God at work in their lives. I thought of all the experiences I created and the many times I felt God show up during those experiences. How can they not see God at work?

But I quickly realized that we were experiencing a thin space right there in my living room. The Holy Sprit was present in their questions. They were in a safe space where they felt comfortable asking tough questions and knew they would not be judged. I resisted the urge to stop them and correct them on what we believe. Instead I encouraged them to dig deeper and think more about what they believe. I asked lots of questions and let them talk.  At the end I was asked what I think and I was able to share with them the places I have seen God at work in my own life and some of the thin spaces I had experienced.

This conversation was a good reminder for me that sometimes God shows up in the questions and doubts of teenagers. My job is not to merely give them the right answers but to create a space for them to be able to talk through their own questions.