Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Shack

It has been a few weeks since I last posted. It's a busy time of the year for me, however I have had the chance to read an amazing book while away that I highly recommend to anyone. The book is called "The Shack" by William P. Young.

I had first heard about it a few months ago, actually around the time of the anniversary of my car accident. I was going through a time of grieving (again - what seemed like round 438) of hopes and dreams lost due to my paralysis. A board member of ours said her church had just finished reading it and felt that it would be very beneficial for me to read. I sometimes get leery of people who think they know what's best for me during times like this, but the way she described the book sounded very intriguing to me.

The back of the book reads:
"Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his 'Great Sadness', Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.

Against his better judgement he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever.

In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant The Shack wrestles with the timeless question, "Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?" The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You'll want everyone you know to read this!"

What surprised me most about this book was the way the author was able to intricately personify the 3 attributes of God: The Father (God), The Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. If you can get past the fact that God (The Father) is actually personified as a woman, the entire book helps understand how all three work together in our lives. After all, do we really know if God is a man or a woman? I think the main character, Mack's, description of his daughter's abduction is most reflective of those low points in our lives - the Great Sadness. However, Mack had allowed this event to completely control the rest of his life, creating a negative aura around him for years. After years of praying, "Why?", God finally spoke to him through a note in his mailbox telling him to go back to where it all began. Mack had to go back to the place where they last found evidence of his missing daughter - The Shack.

This book showed me the loving, caring, and gentle attributes of the Lord. It truly showed me how God is a parent to us - guiding us in a direction that He knows is best for us while at the same time giving us the freedom to learn on our own. It made me want to crawl up in the arms of Jesus right away!

A summary of testimonials from the book reads as follows:

"If there's a better book out there capturing God's engaging nature and His ability to crawl into our darkest nightmare with his love, light, and healing, I've not seen it. You will be captivated by the creativity and imagination of the The Shack, and before you know it you'll be experiencing God as never before. It is a beautiful story of how God comes to find us in the midst of our sorrows, trapped by disappointments, betrayed by our own presumptions. He never leaves us where He finds us, unless we insist."

I couldn't summarize it better. I will not give away the plot of this book, but highly recommend you read this book with open eyes and an open heart. If you read only one book this new year, I urge you to read this one!

Buy the book at your local bookstore or through Amazon by clicking here.