“The Shack” is a beautiful book by Wm. Paul Young that has been made into a movie being released March 3. Though it is a work of fiction, it has so much spiritual truth in it, and it questions everything we might ever have believed, but in a good way. And even though its foundation is Christianity, there is something to be found for people of all faiths.
The story is about Mackenzie, a man who suffered a great tragedy that turned his life upside down. Four years later on a very snowy day, he receives a note in the mail signed by God suggesting they meet at the shack that was part of what caused ‘the great sadness’ in his life. Not knowing what to expect, he decides to venture back to the shack and back into his darkest nightmare.
Instead of the beaten down empty building he once knew, the shack had been transformed into a beautiful home. To his absolute surprise, God answered the door in the form of a beautiful black woman. Jesus was there, too, as well as the Holy Spirit in the form of a very pixyish yet amazing young woman. It questioned everything he believed about who or what these three entities were, but they appeared to him in these forms for reasons that would start healing his heart from ‘the great sadness’ and all the horrible experiences from his past.
Please open your mind and see this movie as there really is so much to be learned from it. Better yet, please read the book, too! Of course, I may not have agreed with everything in it, but that’s okay. We can take from it what works for us, file in our minds what we need to ponder further, or just ignore anything that doesn’t resonate with us. And yet I received so much wisdom and knowledge about who or what God really is (by whatever name you use) and just how much we are totally and unconditionally loved no matter who we are or what we’ve done in life.
In the book, Jesus said, “Those who love me have come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims; some are Democrats, some Republicans and many don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions. I have followers who were murderers and many who were self-righteous. Some are bankers and bookies, American and Iraqis, Jews and Palestinians. I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, into my Beloved.”
I think Jesus said it well. And if you love “The Shack,” please read the sequel* “Crossroads.” You’ll love it just as much if not more.
“As much as you are able, rest in what trust you have in me, no matter how small, okay?” God.
*Clarification: "Crossroads" isn't an actual sequel to "The Shack" with the same characters, but is a sequence of books with the same, but different, story line of meeting God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit with different characters.
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper February 17, 2017.