Take A Short Walk On A Long Pier: Finding God in the Thin Places - Sandy Cove Ministries
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    “Take a long walk on a short dock!” is a snappy schoolyard retort, good for voicing our frustrations toward the antagonist of the moment. It can also work just as well for self-pity purposes (and when eating worms isn’t going to get the job done.) “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll take a long walk on a short dock.”

    Regardless of the source of your external frustrations or internal conflicts, I’m going to suggest a plot twist, and invite you to take a short walk on our long pier, here at Sandy Cove.

     

    The Pier at Sandy Cove Overlooks the Chesapeake Bay

    The pier is the centerpiece of the view we enjoy of the Chesapeake Bay. Of course, the fact that any sunset is always directly across the water from us does not hurt. But that view is remarkably gorgeous each and every day—spring, summer, fall, winter; ice, fog, whitecaps, flat calm, whatever—it doesn't matter. Even after 14 years of working here and seeing it every day, I’ll still take the long way through the building, just to walk by the windows overlooking the water. It's always picture perfect.

    Still, it is more than just a beautiful view. We recognize that God uses this amazing natural environment so significantly, that we included it as part of our mission statement. Many people report that something changes when they drive onto the property and conclude that it must be “Holy Ground.” However, I shy away from that terminology. I don’t want to reinforce any ideas that God lives here or that He won’t go home with you, so you have to keep coming back to visit Him here . . . It’s a great business model, but terrible theology!

    I think we can lean into Romans 1:20 where Paul explains “For since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature.” The beauty of nature captivates us and should serve as a quick “connect the dots” to the One who made it all, reminding us of His greatness and our smallness, and inspiring worship for who He is, and what He has done.

    “For since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature.” Romans 1:20

    Along with that, the other thing I see that happens here is that people take the time to slow down and look around. To get away from the distractions, sit still, and take it all in.

    One of our Family Camp speakers, Rob Whittaker recalled the Celtic Christians' idea of “thin places,” a place where heaven and earth seem to “connect” instead of the normal sense of separation.

    I think Sandy Cove becomes a “thin place” for many of our guests—not that God speaks louder here, but that we become quieter. What about you? Does nature help you connect with God? If so, where are your “thin places?”

    Nate Ransil
    Nate joined the Program department at Sandy Cove in 2003, and transitioned to director of that team in 2014. Nate graduated from Houghton College with a double major in Communication and Outdoor Recreation (yes, it is a thing) and got to know his wife Evelyn while co-leading backpacking trips for at-risk youth. Hopefully not as at-risk are their two sons, Caleb and TJ, who have spent all their summers at Sandy Cove, Camp Sandy Cove, and The MARSH! Nate enjoys being outside, being inside, being handy, the beach, snowboarding, roller coasters, training aardvarks, bodybuilding, contributing to quantum theory, and making up fanciful, if not entirely accurate, biographical details.