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How My Anger at God Lead Me to The Shack: A Review of William P. Young's Novel
Understanding God's Love
Recently while I was talking with a friend, I discovered quite surprisingly that I was mad at God. I didn’t trust God because, well frankly, He had let me down in a couple of pretty big areas in my life. The conversation had actually started off with me whining to my friend about how I carry the world on my shoulders and sometimes the burden is too great. When my friend asked why I didn’t turn this over to God, I told her I wasn’t sure that God would help me, that He had dropped the ball pretty significantly in the past, and I was the one that had to scurry around picking up the pieces. How could I trust Him? It’s not that I don’t believe in Him – it’s just that maybe He really is too busy, or maybe I am being punished… that sort of thing. She told me that if I thought that, then I didn’t really know who God was and maybe I needed to talk to Him about these concerns. I promptly told her that I thought you weren’t supposed to be mad at God. After all, I don’t need any more problems in my life. My friend wisely pointed out to me that it sounded like I already was mad at Him and it’s not like this was a secret to God. So she suggested that I have a REAL relationship and talk to Him about it.
Well…. That was a real challenge to me. So I decided I needed to find out more about God. Maybe I didn’t really know Him and maybe it was time to have a real heart to heart chat. So I started really talking to God in my prayer life. And I started trying to understand God through my Bible reading. Eventually my search to know more about God’s love led me to THE SHACK by William P. Young. Since Eugene Petersen the translator of the MESSAGE BIBLE endorsed the book along with about 60 other people raving about the story, I thought I would give it a read. I was aware that it stirred up a lot of controversy among different groups of Christians and I agree its theology may not be perfect and it may not be a brilliant intellectual tome. But it did speak to me. It helped me get my head around some very abstract concepts. It was the book I needed to read at that moment in my life.
The story centers around a man named Mack who, at God’s bidding, returns to the shack where his young daughter had been brutally murdered years before. While he is there he has a very unusual meeting with the Trinity - God (or Papa as he calls him), Jesus and the Holy Spirit. For three days he talks to Him/them about his anger and his anguish. No punches are pulled. All the hard questions are asked, and answered. By the time I had read the final page – I felt as if I had been to the shack, had met God and now knew and understood his incredible love for me. That’s a tall order for a book that is only 248 pages long. The book did not explain everything there is to know about God, religion, or theology in general. I am sure that was not its purpose. It is merely an allegory to help us understand one aspect of God. His love.
Perhaps If you, like me, have suffered tragedy in your life and have questions, this might be a good book for you to read. You just might meet God there.