The Shack

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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.



© 2010 – 2012, Marie Wikle. All rights reserved. You may NOT re-post any content from this website without written permission from the owner

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  1. I have heard of the book The Shack but never paid much attention to it great review I will keep my eyes open for it.

    And Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  2. This book actually made my faves list. I read it shortly after coming home from a long hospitalization with my little man. I cried throughout but they were tears of realization. I love the way God is painted as humorous, approachable, familiar and warm. “Papa” I loved it. I never understood all the doctrine fuss over this book. I would not use a fiction book to establish doctrinal beliefs and believe the Holy Spirit is more than capable of taking this book and using it to open the door for new believers and any that are seeking Him. :)

  3. @Faith it is a good book. As I said in the review, The first chapter was quite painful for me at the time…but what amazed me was that the writer was so open and honest with his feelings. Almost as if he was re-living it. I found myself shaking my head during the book, in disbelief, I laughed at some of his respones as they were truly typical and then a whole host of other emotions. I hope you get a chance to read it – and enjoy it.

    @Christy – you are correct. Very approachable, very easy to read during that part of the book. I loved the imagry in heaven, the honest feelings and how anyone can relate to it.

    Thank you both for stopping by and commenting! I truly do appreciate you both!

  4. LOVE your encouragement to read The Shack for “powerful thruths” and “not judging it based on doctrine”. Those who are able to do that have been greatly blessed. Those who cannot miss out. :(

    One of the contributing authors (Wayne Jacobsen) has written a book that I have described as “the heart behind The Shack, times two, minus the doctrinal stumbling blocks.” The book is called “He Loves Me” and I have read it four times now. The Shack joined John Eldredge’s “Waking the Dead” on top of my all-time favorites list…until I read “He Loves Me”, which now stands alone on top.

    If you liked The Shack and haven’t read “He Loves Me”, be sure to check it out when you can. Wayne Jacobsen’s Website is

    Ephesians 3:20 blessings on you and your ministry. Very, very cool stuff you’re doing!

    • Kawanzaa says:

      I loved The Shack and I will definitely look for He Loves Me. Thanks for bringing it to this forum :-)

  5. Thank you for stopping by and commenting!! I truly appreciate that. Sometimes people need to let fiction be fiction, but even in fiction there are some amazing things that apply to the right here and right now. I have not read “He Loves Me” and will have to remember to check that out.

    Thank you for the encouragement and the verse… I forget about that wonderful promise! HE is able to do more than we ask or think!! loooove that!

    {{{HUGS}} of great thanks!

  6. Kawanzaa says:

    Hi Marie,
    I could not pass up the opportunity to talk about this book! It took me a little bit to get in to, but once I did, it was amazing! Every time I would pick up the book to read, I felt this wonderful peace. I still want to believe that it’s a true story. I love the way the book shows the closeness of God; that God has a sense of humor; and the relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    There were many moments in the book that I found myself weeping, but I remember the page I busted out my ugly cry! Page 116:
    He[Mack] could feel the Great Sadness roll in over him.
    “Jesus” he whispered ash his voice choked. “I feel so lost”
    A hand reach out and squeezed his and didn’t let go. “I know,
    Mack. But it’s not true. I am with you and I’m not lost. I’m
    sorry it feels that way, but hear me clearly: your are not
    See what I mean?

    • I’m glad you came back and commented!!

      I too, at one point just sobbed – I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I had no idea all of those feelings of fear, guilt and such were pinned up.

      This book is simply amazing.

      You gave me goosebumps when you quoted about the great sadness. I never want to feel that again.

      {{HUGS}} you are such a blessing! Thank you for being a bright light in my world.

  7. Hi Marie, my heart goes out to you & your family. What a coincidence, I too read The Shack in 2009. How it took me to another world! It’s as if I were right there with him. What anguish, but, then such peace! I didn’t want it to end! Fabulous book! I’m actually going to read it again! Blessings!

    • Thank you for this!! It was unbelievable as I read the first chapter and it seemed like all of the fears, doubts and emotions that Mac was facing – were all right there in my heart. I was afraid of the next chapter and literally couldn’t read it. I emailed the person that recommended it and asked if they were crazy – knowing what I was going through.

      I’m glad I did get through it, and it did take some time. Much healing, trusting and such but amazing how it all worked out.

      One person even told me…wow, I didn’t see that in the shack.

      I told her – we see what our hearts need to see. Maybe we should all read it again.

      {{HUGS}} and thank you!!

  8. I was born to an alcoholic mom who didn’t want me. She was a teacher and Dad was an engineer. Essie May was a heavy set black woman who my parents hires to cook, clean and take care of us kids. I was stunned to read the portrayal of God as a heavy set black woman! Little did I know at the time that God was with me from the beginning of my life! I adored Essie May and loved her even more after reading The Shack!

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