About 9 years ago, my church endorsed this book that hit the New York Times Best Seller’s List called The Shack. As a result, my dad bought it and read it.
I was 13 at that point, and though I was an avid reader, I delved more into the young adult fiction, knee deep in fantasy and romance. “Christian books” weren’t my thing.
My mom, who didn’t read the book, heard a lot of the criticism about its message as well as the extremists who think the story is Satan’s way of brainwashing Christians into believing a new doctrine.
Needless to say, she leaned more toward the heresy argument and before long, the book gathered dust on the shelf and was eventually donated or thrown away.
Through a series of events my mom ended up ordering another copy. She flew through the book and encouraged me to read it as well. I consumed the 250 page paperback in two days, not wanting to put it down.
Let me start by saying I am aware of the backlash this novel has received. I’m surrounded by people that turn their noses up in Jesus’s name at the mere mention of the title. It broke my heart to hear what they had to say, and I questioned myself. Am I missing something? As a Christian, shouldn’t I be having the same reaction?
Let me share with you the undeniable truth that this book has placed in my heart.
Remember that this is a story that was written as a piece of fiction to help teach us about God and how He works. It was a story about real life tragedy. Real evil and real ways to overcome them through love and forgiveness.
As for my heart.
This book reminded me just how much I’m loved by such an amazing God and just how high the cost was for Jesus when he laid down his life for the world (John 3:16).
Because of that love, I am encouraged to love and forgive even the most difficult people in the world because God “is especially fond” of them (1 John 4:7-9).
I realized that we often judge so many people unjustly and we even judge the God who created us for not running the world the way we think would be best. God’s way is so much better than our way (Isaiah 55:9).
We also have a tendency to utter the refrain, “Why, God, why?” In the midst of those questions, I’ve been comforted in the reminder of how God’s goal is for the good of His people (Romans 8:28).
As a result, I want to strive for an even more intimate relationship with God because He is more personable than we think He is and far more loving than people make Him out to be.
My heart steeped in these messages for days once I finished reading, and no amount of reproach can change that. My life and my outlook on God has only brightened after reading it.
I’m not writing this to change your mind or to promote my own agenda. I’m just testifying how God has ministered to my heart through The Shack, and I would be doing you a disservice in keeping it to myself.
This book is not the Bible nor is it God breathed, and I won’t treat it as so. If you want to read it, my suggestion is that you pray before diving in. Approach it with an open heart, the worst that could happen is that you don’t believe a word of it. But for those who genuinely want to look into it, I pray that you will be as blessed as I’ve been.