After a good start to the year with reading I allowed myself to get out of the habit until recently when I read The Shack. The book was given to my wife to read by a neighbor, my wife who is an amazingly fast reader took a long time to read the book so I assumed that she didn’t enjoy it. However over dinner one day the subject came up & it turned out she did enjoy it, she had simply put it down for about a month when she got mad at it. I was intrigued enough to give it a try. As the list of books I have written about on here will tell you, I don’t’ read fiction very often, it’s not that I don’t enjoy it, it is just that, well, I don’t have a good reason.
As I started with the book, I was not sure what to expect, my wife & neighbor had been very careful not to ruin the plot for me. The first few chapters were ok at best, for me there were far too many characters to try and remember who was who (I know, I should read more). The darkness of the book was slowly building until I reached the point that I am quite sure is where my wife put the book down. You can see it coming in the book & I understand why it upset my wife so much (no I’m not going to tell you what happened).
From that point on, the book builds from darkness into beautiful, blinding light. It presents one of the best explanations of God’s love for us & how His creation works that I have read. The writing is masterfully immersive. I really felt like I was a part of the story, I could imagine everything I was reading. At times I had to remind myself that this was fiction as I became envious of the journey the lead character was on (the good parts of it, not the bad). Then the realization came to me that I had been / am on a very similar journey. So many of us are. They is what makes the book so great, it is the story of redemption, of healing, of processing anger, especially that deep hidden anger at God for what we think He allowed to happen to us & that disappointment that He didn’t love us enough to stop it happening. Which is of course nonsense, but that has never stopped anyone that I know from going there. We all need therapy in some form or another. We all certainly need God to speak into our true identity, to here from Him about how He really sees us. Maybe, just maybe, this book could be the beginning of that journey for you.
Yes this is a work of fiction, yet in some ways it is so much more real than any “fact’ based books you will ever read. I highly recommend picking up a copy & reading it, just make sure you stick with it past the beginning!