These are some of the thoughts I wrote in my journal about the book The Shack.
I gotta say, I started this book with judgemental feelings, I don’t know why.
There are things that are kinda weird if I can say that. But this book is all fiction, nothing in it is real. Nonetheless, I learned a lot of great things from it, because I read it with an open mind. And I’m happy I did that.
I think you already know what this book is all about, but if you don’t, let me show you just a few highlights.
This book is about a family. The parents lose a daughter and the brothers lose a sister because Missy is being kidnapped and she’s never seen after that terrible thing that happened to her.
Her father is invited by God to the shack where Missy was killed, to talk to him, face to face. Almost the entire book talks about that. This involves relationships, healing, forgiveness, love, good things that God wants for us.
On page 85, God says that He’s not a man nor a woman. I liked that and I understood it years ago. With our eyes and minds, we cannot comprehend the majesty of God. We should not even try to do that. He said that He chose to appear in the shape of a woman to break all bondage of religion that ties Mack. That bondage doesn’t let him grow. I think this applies to all of us that read the book and we were outraged that God appears in the shape of a woman. Because we think that God has a shape of a man, but I don’t think that’s true. I cannot understand with my human eyes how God looks, and that’s ok. When I’ll meet Him, I’ll see.
Another beautiful thing that I truly loved was on page 89. God said that we were created to be loved. And to live like we’re not loved is to limit ourselves. The limit is put by us, not anybody else.
“Living unloved is like clipping a bird’s wing and removing its ability to fly. Love is NOT the limitation; love is the flying. I AM love. ”
“Love is not the limitation; love is the flying.”
People, when they think of God, they think that He’s n times better than them. What they’re not, God is. The problem is, that with our human eyes we cannot even start to imagine what and how God is. He’s not just a much better version of ourselves, He’s everything that we can imagine and more.
“True love never forces.”
When we look at things, we see some of them that are good and some are bad. But normally, they’re all good, they’re not bad. We made them bad when we used them in wrong things, by choosing the independence way, away from God.
…apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5b
I really liked one metaphor that was made in the book. The Holy Spirit said that the garden was Mack’s soul. And they had to take all out, the flowers and the grass, to work on his heart (garden), and to plant new flowers (to change his heart). This process takes time with everybody because it’s not easy, but it’s so necessary. We want to have a kind and loving heart and that really takes time and a lot of exercise. But with God’s help, we can do it.
God wants to be friends with us, to live a life of relationship with Him, not scared of hell, but anticipating the time when we’ll meet Him in Heaven. Because we love Him.
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15
In the pages 146-147, we read something really scary, that Mack has to be the judge for his family. To choose between his children, which one to go to hell and which one to heaven. He, obviously, cannot do that. Instead, Mack wants to give himself as a sacrifice for his children. Now, he lived and seen just a glimpse of what Jesus had to go through for us. Those pages were strong and harder to read, it really makes you think and be grateful for the gift we have from Christ.
The marriage is not an institution, is a relationship. page 161
Another truth from the book (page. 187) is about priorities. People say that God should be first, then the rest of things (like a pyramid). But God wants all from us. He wants to be in the center of our lives, in every relationship. To breath Him in everything we do.
“I don’t just want a piece of you and a piece of your life. Even if you were able, which you are not, to give me the biggest piece, that is not what I want. I want all of you and all of every part of you and your day.”
The last thing I want to talk about is forgiveness. For Mack, this was really hard and I’m sure it was. Forgiveness is not just a feeling, is an action. Maybe the person that hurt you doesn’t even feel sorry for that, but you’re dying inside. The hate is killing you. The hate hurts you and the relationships around you as well.
If you want to let God work in your heart and in the heart of the person that hurt you, forgive and move on. This doesn’t mean you will forget what he’s done to you, but it will not affect your life anymore. Let God heal your heart.
“Forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive.”
This book thought me a lot of great things and I’m pretty happy I read it. But I think that was because I read it with an open mind and I stopped being judgemental. Being judgemental also takes time and exercise.
I really hope you will give it a try and you’ll come back and tell me if you liked it.
“when I live in you, then together we can live through everything that happens to you.”