Monday, October 18, 2010

My Thin Place

There is nothing that compares to the feeling of entrapment. The feeling that the walls are closing in around you and there is no escape. The feeling of despair and helplessness. The dreaded feeling that there is no hope. No light at the end of the tunnel.

Please God, let me see a light. Any light. God? Are you there? I remember thinking if a light did suddenly appear in the deep cavern of my tunnel, perhaps it would be a train. Yes, my despair would be over! I would find closure and I would discover solace and peace. Where’s the light? God, where are you when I need you the most?

I was completely overwhelmed with circumstances that were not at all what I had hoped them to be. This chapter in my life began with such promise and hope. I had accepted a job transfer to a new state, with the expectation of growth and potential. And within the first year I recall wondering why I ever agreed to do such a fool-hardy thing.

I sold our home…our first home.

We moved away from family, friends, and everything familiar and comfortable. And we moved to this desolate, strange, and awkward new city where we knew no-one. Nothing was familiar and nothing was comfortable.

To make matters worse, the financial impact of the move was painful. The costs were higher than expected and the pay was less than expected. As I anguished over which bills to pay and which to delay, the walls closed in around me.

As my wife and kids complained that they didn’t like the schools, the stores, and the restaurants, the walls crept closer and closer. The days began to grow dark and clouds hung low in the sky, stretching from horizon to horizon. My bones were chilled as the wind whipped down through the canyons.

The bills began to accumulate quicker than the autumn leaves. The leaves were easy. Rake ‘em and bag ‘em. The bills? There was no way I could dispose of them.

The pressures to succeed at work were impossible to bear. The bank accounts were dwindling and the bare necessities were, well, getting very bare.  If you’ve ever anguished over paying the power bill or buying milk for the children, then you know exactly where I was.

I had reached my thin place. The cupboards were thin, my wallet was thin, and my attitude was thin.

And then, when I thought I could reach out and feel the weight of the world crashing down upon me, my God, who promised to provide my every need, came to my rescue. Just as He provided manna for the Israelites, meat and bread to Elijah, and flour and oil that never ran out for the faithful widow, He proved to me that He does indeed own the cattle on a thousand hills. All He needed to do was slaughter one or two. And He did.

Seemingly out of nowhere, I received a call from our pastor and he told me that he knew we were struggling. He asked if there was anything he or the church could do. My pride wanted to say no, but I was beyond thinking of my pride. I told him we couldn’t pay the electric bill and that we were dangerously low on groceries.

His reply was simple and immediate. “No problem,” he said. “You’ve been faithful to God and the church, and now it is our time to be there for you.” And just like that, when things seemed hopeless, we were thrown a lifeline.

Within a very short time, our finances improved and I was given an opportunity to move back to our home state. We gave birth to our third daughter, eight days before the move and we sold our home the day before we moved. It’s funny how our timeframe isn’t always His timeframe, but His timing is always perfect.

Over the course of the next year, we made an additional move, received a promotion with my company, and my salary has grown to levels I could only previously hope for. God is so much more to me than just a provider, but through those thin places in my life, He has proven Himself over and over again.

He is ever so faithful, ever so true.

Jason Coleman
“Discovering Your Amazing Marriage”