When this book was first recommended to me, it was just done in passing, so I didn't buy it. But again last week, the same person mentioned it to me again and I knew [in the way that that you know beyond the shadow of a doubt in your heart of hearts] that I needed to buy it and read it. In fact, I also knew that this would be one that I would likely be passing on, so I bought 3 copies.
Like many of the books that have been put in my path over the last year of my journey, this one has a set of circumstances that couldn't be further from my life, Nevertheless I know that there is a reason that I needed to reach each one, to take me one step further on my journey.
In fact, the first few chapters were very difficult and even painful to read, as the main character, a man who was the son of a very "religious" man, who was also an abusive alcoholic, took his kids camping and one of them was abducted and brutally murdered. Her body was never recovered, but the dress that she was in was found, bloodied in a delapidated cabin that is called "The Shack" in the book. His wife, who wasn't along for the camping trip, was very close to God and in fact called him "Papa".
After a few years of emotional torment and struggle just to make it from one day to the next, one snowy day, he gets a note, out of the blue in his mailbox, inviting him to visit the Shack that weekend and it was signed Papa.
What ensues in the balance of this book of fiction is an amazing story of his personal encounter with the maker of heaven and earth and the owner of the cattle on ten thousand hills.
While I don't want to give away any of the book's story line, he is introduced to all the different dimensions of "papa" and learns about His amazing nature. By the end of the book, I was so captivated, that I found myself wondering if it was, in fact, fiction or if the write was using third person about his "friend" to actually tell this fantastic story of his own encounter with "mountain maker", "ocean tamer" (see last week's blog on that one!).
I cannot remember another book that I've read that has touched me as deeply as this one. Ever. I am a voracious reader and I've had other books I liked a great deal, but none that I could say changed me from within (which is where all of our change really needs to start!).
This story crystalized the need for forgiveness as a path to true emotional freedom and it paints the clearest picture that I've ever seen that God is ALL about love and actually desires to free us from the bonds of our misconceptions about Him. So much of what we know or surmise about Him is so incredibly distorted as a result of "religion" and so much of what we see in circumstance is not "reality".
For a literary treat, grab ahold of this one for a good read. But watch out, as this book may touch you deeply too. Allow a lot of time too, as this one is one that I could not put down!