This novel follows the spiritual struggles of a man who wrestles with the God who allowed the abduction and murder of his youngest daughter.
God seeking us in unexpected ways to know and love us in relationship.
Every point in human history has its people who understand the Great Hope of life but lack the desire, strength, courage or integrity to live it. As a result, relationships with God and others suffer. While in the past, the vision to motivate people to live hopeful lives may have come from prophets, visionaries and trained religionists, today, organized faiths on a worldwide scale have failed to inspire their leaders or their followers to much more than lukewarm political correctness. Even the fiery liberals and conservatives on the edges of the great religions have in many ways reduced themselves to the roles of prudish, professional legalists—pushing their strict regulations, politicized theologies, thuggish proselytizing, superficial spirituality and shallow relationships. Face it, from a relational point of view, there is little to differentiate among those who burn churches, bomb nightclubs and picket abortion clinics. All of them—and especially those of the faith which should know better—turn their backs on the Great Hope, while fighting to protect their own turf and force others to their points of view.
The Shack, a novel by William P. Young, points to the one hope for healing the anguishes and torments of a materialistic world dying from its lack of spiritual understanding. As a Christian, Mr. Young rightly centers on Jesus of Nazareth as the source for repairing personal, community and environmental injuries. Approaching God through Jesus is the beginning point. Trusting the wisdom and love of God to work good out of evil is essential. Yet, knowing God comes with no promises of wealth, health, security or prominence as the world generally defines these. God, indeed, is in charge and working out his will in the midst of ongoing evil. God knows us well and uses our interests as means to attract our attention.
A well plotted and skillfully written work of fiction, The Shack is an entertaining read, the content is as deep as you wish it to be. The dialogs between Mack and God—as father, son and spirit—are engaging, thoughtful, original, occasionally convicting, amusing and, at times, hilarious. You will likely find yourself on almost every page. You may even discover yourself speaking and listening more directly to Jesus, as you see him as humanity's channel to God.
On the essentials of the Christian faith—Jesus as the reconciler to God and as the truth that sets humanity free—The Shack, the authors appeared to suffer from educational blindness, professional jealousy, conceptual ignorance or all of these together.
Whatever the issues of the reviewers, the means and goals of biblical salvation are clearly presented in The Shack. Salvation is totally about a reconciliation relationship originating with God by the blood of Christ. Salvation is about knowing God in the heart through the Spirit. While the burden is light, the process of growing involves dying to self, in part to heal relationships. Relationships are always more difficult than doing good works for others or for God. From a living knowledge of God, good works bubble up and overflow in relationships.
Yet, The Shack worth the read.