Have you recently experienced a tragedy? Are you struggling with your relationship with the divine? Do you ever wonder why bad things happen to good people? If you answered yes to any of the three above questions, then reading The Shack by William Paul Young may be a good idea for you.
The Shack is a novel written to get you thinking. It starts off by telling the story of one Mackenzie Allen Phillips, known as “Mack” by his friends and family. Mack is taking his family on an outing at a lake in Oregon. All is going well until there is a canoe accident with one of his children. When he returns from saving this child from drowning, he comes to realize that another one of his children has gone missing. Missy has disappeared and the trail of clues lead investigators to believe that she was kidnapped by a serial killer. Mack’s world quickly spins out of control and he is left hopeless and helpless. Investigators learn of the car that the killer was driving and it takes them to an abondoned shack, where Missy’s body is found bludgeoned. He is devastated and his relationship with God is destroyed.
He is given a glimmer of hope when he receives a letter inviting him to return to the shack by “Papa.” Papa was the Phillip family’s code name for God. He wonders how anybody else learned of this to play such a cruel joke on him. Curiousity gets the best of him and he sends his wife off with her family to go explore. Mack experiences the range of emotions that accompany loss. He is angry, confused, and desperate. He can not understand why God would allow a poor, innocent child like Missy go through such a horrid death. What follows is a series of conversations between himself and God that turns his misery into newfound hope and forgiveness, even for the killer of his child.
Young answers questions about the nature of the Trinity, how God feels about us as individuals, and how God views issues such as control and hierarchy. Topics such as expectation and responsibility are also raised. One of my favorite quotes from the book is “love that is forced is no love at all.” The settings of the conversations are familiar and the content of the messages are simple yet striking. The Shack is written in a universal way to all religions. Whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or Buddhist, there is a truth in The Shack that has people talking.
The Shack was first published in 2007 but for the first time is being mass produced. There are over ten million copies in print according to its publisher Windblown Media. Experience The Shack for yourself by going to www.theshackbook.com.