Why Everyone Should See the Shack

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Why everyone should see The Shack

I was asleep to the ocean of pain in my own life, and The Shack woke me up.  My traditional upbringing rarely equipped me with models that adequately handled the pain in a healing way. Consequently truths about God were impressed on me that left me uncertain about a God that seemed far more interested in right behavior than relationship and a deep connection with Him. I was trained in biblical academics at some of the finest institutions, but I doubted God’s goodness, and I had invisible walls between myself and God. The pain of my experience clouded my mind and most importantly my heart.

What do we do with our pain in the face of a God we have been told through traditions is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving but allows so much pain and feelings of injustice? These are the questions The Shack addresses through a fictional story designed to help us see and know a very real side of God and relationships that are so desperately needed in our pain.

When the book, The Shack, was released there was a buzz, often negative but also some positive about its story. Theologians, bloggers, and spiritual people all weighed in on its so-called “heresy and flaws.”  My wife, Lisa, hosted a book discussion and several women read and digested the book deeply. It was, as of today, the largest gathering she has hosted. Why? It wasn’t because they were riding a wave of “pop-culture-heresy,” but because The Shack touched and addressed some of the deepest and most profound questions about our spiritual lives. And it provides an imaginative, yet accurate, story of how to understand God and process our pain.

To understand The Shack we have to consider its genre and purpose. Although it might be fair to say the story leaves out and challenges some classically held views on God and His nature, what it does present is a corrective balance through a picture of real aspects of God that bring healing and hope. The Shack presents, through imaginative storytelling, the power of a God that loves deeply and knows everything – far beyond our limited and quite judgmental vantage points. It highlights God’s profound wisdom in the face of our so often rash and inept ways of handling evil and the ocean of pain it brings. The Shack demonstrates a God that enters into our pain, handles evil in a far bigger and more glorious way than we my dream, and brings the wisdom of His grace and forgiveness to our hearts. Rather than focusing on wrath and punishment, we see in The Shack a real side of God and his immeasurable wisdom. In The Shack we see a glimpse of God’s truth and gracious love woven into a fictional story to bring help, hope, and healing to our broken hearts.

In the recent release of the film, The Shack, it has yet again stirred up a buzz. I’ve read several blogs and articles condemning the film as “heresy,” yet many of these articles miss the main point. We are designed for relationship with God and each other – His image bearers. Our brokenness, pain, and limited perspective cloud our ability to trust Him and His vast and patient love. We know that God’s kindness, tolerance, and patience leads us to healing through repentance and forgiveness (Romans 2:4), and that the depths of His loving and wise ways are beyond our limited imaginations and responses to pain (Romans 11:33-36). The Shack helps us enter into a deeper spiritual world and divine perspective that better define wisdom and forgiveness.

To be sure The Shack doesn’t cover all the aspects of God’s nature, and due to its genre it mainly highlights element so often missing in our thoughts about God. Christians need to watch the film and read the book with open eyes to discern what is missing, but I believe to also receive the elements that it was intended to present. If we receive The Shack this way, we just might find the God that is really there, really does have answers, really does provide help, hope, and healing for the pain and evil in our hearts.

For these reasons and so many more, I think everyone should see The Shack.

Just in Time or Just in Case? How God will deliver for you.

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Your life is full of needs. Many of these needs are acute and time sensitive. Will God give me a new job before the money runs out? Will God provide healing for the health of me and my loved ones? Will God provide rescue from the brokenness of my relationships personally, professionally, and socially?

When will He provide? Why does He seem to wait?

I used to cry out to God and ask Him to give me everything I thought I’d ever needed so that “Just in Case” I would be protected and have the comfort of knowing that I was resourced for the troubles of life.  God did NOT answer these prayers.

Inside I knew that my prayers actually lacked faith. I wanted God to give to me resources above what I needed or in advance so that I would not have to trust Him when times were tough!

God most often does not provide in advance, nor by the way is He late!  God provides “Just in Time.”

“Just in Time” is a shipping and inventory phrase that describes a revolutionary way to resource production.  Rather than order tons of parts or supplies in advance, a company will estimate how many parts they need and order the parts in exacting quantities to arrive just when they need it.  This saves time and money because they do not need to have warehousing for extra inventory.  Rather than hold on to supplies “Just in Case’ they move to the more powerful “Just in Time” system.

I am convinced that God works on “Just in Time” shipping!  

Whatever is going on in your life God knows about it and He knows with exacting quantities what and when you need it!  God wants you to trust Him and in prayer and active waiting rely on His Just in Time provision for you!

He will deliver for you not “Just in Case” but “Just in Time”!  

They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isa 40:31 ESV)