Book review

The Shack

“The Shack”, by William Paul Young. Published by Hodder;

This imaginative novel wrestles with the timeless question “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?”

It’s based on the experience of Mackenzie Allen Philips whose youngest daughter, Missy, is abducted while the family are on holiday. Tragically, her dead body is found in a disused shack and Mackenzie enters the time of his life which he describes as The Great Sadness.

This marvellous book, which I really couldn’t put down, is the story of how he meets with God and is helped through the terrible pain and sadness. His journey is prompted by a mysterious note which he finds in his mail box which he can only assume has come from God.

Some people love the novel and some hate it. It does take a revolutionary view of the Trinity which perhaps for some is too radical and unconventional. I just love the way it confirms my belief that God does deal with each of us as individuals and reveals himself to us in just the right way for us. It is difficult to quote from the book without giving too much away. It is best to read it for yourself – I don’t want to spoil the surprise!

But there is one section I could quote where Mack is given some insight into what heaven is like. God [the Father] is looking on and “His gaze stopped on Mack standing on the small hill at the outer edge and he heard Jesus whisper in [Mack’s] ear ‘Mack, I am especially fond of you.’ That was all Mack could bear as he slumped to the ground, dissolving into a wash of joyful tears. He couldn’t move, gripped as he was in Jesus’ embrace of love and tenderness.”

That’s one of the most precious things I took from ‘The Shack’: that God is immensely fond of each of us – not in a general, job-lot sort of way, but in a deeply personal way in which we have the whole Trinity’s complete affection, love, understanding, kindness and compassion.

All of the members of Broken Rites have experienced pain and loss. This book helped me feel sure that my pain is understood and it helped me feel very close to God. I hope you will find it as heart-warming a read as I did.


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