When I started reading The Shack in September 2009, it was towards the end of a long battle. Even though I was strong for my family & I trusted and relied on the strength of the Lord and prayers from friends and family, a great sadness enveloped me. My family had literally been through one of the most grievous years I can remember. We battled doctors on behalf of my daughter Meg who could no longer digest solid food, wondered & prayed about employment for my husband Steve and left my only son at college – 15 hours away. I picked up The Shack and read the first chapter. My heart was pounding, the tears were forming as I felt Mack’s pain and the terror of his dreams. I think to myself, there is no way I’ll ever be at a point where I can finish this book; I, too, was having nightmares so terrible that I desperately tried not to sleep. Just as the great sadness consumed Mack, it consumed me. I closed the book, wondering if I’d ever finish it.
I’m happy to say that I did have the courage to pick it up and continue reading it. This fictional book describes pain, anguish and fear in such detail that you can feel the pain gripping your heart, then, it does something wonderful. It takes you through the healing process.
The author, William Paul Young, does a wonderful job with having the characters asking questions we would typically ask, expressing doubt, anger and fear. He then reminds us that it’s of our own free will that develop our relationship with our heavenly Father.
For a fictional book, there were many passages that were full of amazing truth.
“Faith does not grow in the house of certainty”
“Don’t ever discount the wonder of your tears. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy. Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak.”
This book has been a source of controversy over doctrinal issues. I suggest you read it as a fiction book, yet pulling out the powerful truths that are throughout the book while simply enjoying it — not judging it based on doctrine, not judging at all.
Let your heart feel the emotions that Mack is feeling as he is working his way through grief and pain, dealing with the issues of forgiveness and struggling to keep it all together for his family.
Sooner or later, you’ll have your own great sadness to deal with, and you’ll remember – God is there, through everything…even when you feel He isn’t.
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