I am always amazed when God has to keep after me and keep after me with a very clear message for me and I seem to be oblivious to Him. God has brought "The Shack" to my attention over and over in the past few weeks, and I still did not "get it" until about a week ago. One of my "Godly" friends had read this book and shared her opinion with me. She was totally put off by the entire scenario of the book, so I thought-don't waste your time. When I had a couple in the running group share their love of the book, our college adopted daughter tell me her small group was studying this book, and finally even an anonymous comment about it, I had to see for myself. I spent a great deal of time reading the book, only taking a chapter at a time-digesting that and moving on. I have carefully underlined the "meat" of the book and now I am prepared to share what I think.
Wm. Paul Young is a masterful story teller. Some of the reviews on the books, compare him to John Bunyan, while this might be a stretch, he certainly has a wonderful gift for sharing the gospel story while weaving it through a heartbreaking story of redemption. The story is woven around "The Great Sadness" that Mack has suffered. I dare to say-many of us have suffered some form and some degree of "Great Sadness" in our lives. Most of us also have held onto righteous anger for a wrong-perceived or real-that we have suffered. This is the basis of the story-that and our "relationship" with the Trinity.
Young does a good job of describing the Trinity in a manner that helps us to put it all on our level. I have a real problem with EVER trying to put God on a level that we human beings could understand, but the author explains in the very beginning that he has put a visual that is totally unexpected-in an effort to make it clear that God is NOT who we think He is. Our minds could never conceive the wonder and majesty of God, The Trinity, or the Holy mystery of the Holy Spirit. Young gives you visual as well as word story clues to just how unbelievably HUGE and AWESOME our God and His Person is.
The predominant theme of the book is God's desire to have a personal relationship with us and what keeps that from happening. The road blocks range from our striving for independence to the huge block of "Religion". Young explains the impediments in an effective manner that we all can understand. His explanation of our "Independence" follows right along the path of my opinion of our greatest sin-SELF. I also have always been concerned with "Church" and how church limits the growth of our relationship with Our Lord.
The book eventually leads to the story of "Redemption". I am deeply blessed by God's redemption of each and every circumstance in my life. The realization that God will redeem all the pain suffered keeps me putting one foot in front of the other each and every day. I was reminded that my forgiveness does not excuse anything, but begins the restoration of joy and peace in my own soul. My job is forgiving and God's job is justice-a timely reminder. The author reminds us that while the scar and memory will be forever with us- the sadness can be removed from us through His redemption and restoration.
I would highly recommend this book to all. I plan to shelve my book for future reference. I normally pass books on to share with others. This book is a keeper as it will be a good resource during those difficult times in life. Thank you, Lord, for your relentless pursuit until I read the book-You have blessed me through the author. READ THE BOOK!