I recently finished reading The Shack (by WM Paul Young), which had been very kindly given to us. I’d only become aware of its existence, and the ripples it was causing, at the alumni day we went to in the autumn (see here).
The Shack is written in a warm, evocative style. Not wanting to give away the plot, I will simply say that it involves an encounter with God (three-in-one) against the backdrop of horrible tragedy.
Not everyone will agree with everything in the book (and all human interpretations are flawed!), and the picture it paints is of a specific encounter in a specific situation. Therefore it doesn’t say (and can’t possibly) everything there is to say about the nature of God. But it does get you thinking. There were times as I was reading when I felt like I, too, was part of the conversation – noting certain aspects, making additional comments in my head, sometimes wanting clarification on something.
It’s not just about talking, however. The author uses vivid imagery to describe moments as they take place, using the senses to capture elements which would be hard to put down in words. There is a strong emphasis on relationship – relationships with each other, with God, and relationship withing God himself.
On a personal level, I felt a great warmth as I read this book, and a real craving for the presence of God in my life. I became aware of his love on a deeper level. It made me want to talk to God more, in a conversational way, as part of the rhythm of my life – to ask him questions and feel safe to do so. I felt a tremendous sense of assurance of his love for us. For me, this was a very special book to read.
Not everyone will have the same reaction, but this is a book that encourages us to explore and deepen our relationship with God, to ask questions, and to reflect on the nature of God. Surely that is a good thing.