It's strange to confess this, but although I'm a writer, I am not much of a reader. My boys are young and demanding in their time, especially my preschooler. my schedule is often filled to the brim and my weekends are penciled in on my calendar months in advanced, so reading? not always on my priority list. It was a month ago however that I felt a strong inner desire to read something that was considered a literary work of fiction. I would even say that the spirit of God began to impress upon my heart to read something literary. Embarrassing to even admit, I questioned aloud in the darkness that was only illuminated by the light from my computer, " What makes something Literary?" I thought to myself, I KNOW! I'LL SEE WHAT OPRAH CALLS LITERARY FICTION! Unfortunately, as I scrolled through her popular list of highly suggested reads of literary works, I became discouraged. I was either going to have to dig back to the boring days of my high school advanced English/literature days for something like Toni Morrison SULA or
Emily Bronte's WUTHERING HEIGHTS, or I was going to have to dig through some of the modern works on her list that I personally did not want to read after scrolling through the many different synopsis. I didn't want to read a story about a wife who finds herself when she finally decides to pursue happiness through her divorce. I didn't want to read about a girl's struggle to leave her native war torn country. None of these themes are completely bad, but on the contrary incredibly real and empowering for some, but i wanted something life changing! I wanted to read a work of art that would not only challenge my intellectual ability but also challenge my heart with a pulling and a tugging power beyond the author's ability. My spirit was thirsty for wisdom and I followed that lead. Before clicking the X in the corner of my monitor's screen, i saw my husband's birthday book glowing in the midst of the others on my tattered old book shelf. OK! SO maybe it wasn't glowing, but then again, it surely stood out. "HEY, Oprah had this on her list so it must be good!" ---I know, I have a great deal of respect for the woman!
I began the journey of THE SHACK, only to slam it down in frustration after reading the first half of chapter 4 (THE GREAT SADNESS) I refused to put any images in my mind of something so horrific, so painful, so tragic! My sweet husband shared with me, that I was to read this story as if hearing a testimony. "Don't project yourself into the story or it may hurt to read. Instead, take it for what it is...a testimony to another man's life as to how he came to know and love and trust God." My husband's advice resonated with me for days before I dared to take the plunge back into the journey.
I just closed the final chapter only minutes ago, and with tears I'm saying to my friends and readers that this one of a kind, creative and brilliant story about God's love for us has captured my heart. The story that was intended for Wm. Paul Young's children alone, touches the entire worlds as it brings us all to a place in our childhood when we might have innocently believed and simply trusted. It stabs at the wounded places in our hearts that scream out, "WHY GOD, WHY DO YOU HATE ME? WHY DID YOU LET BAD THINGS HAPPEN?
The story reaches to our darkest places tucked within our secret heart crevices, and it gently begin to nudge until our eyes fill the pages with tears! This book has the sweetness of God's love wrapped within every page, and it brings a new understanding to the way we should view our time on earth and our fellowship with HIM, and others. Forgiveness is a huge element in this precious read and I'm grateful for the love that poured from each paragraph as he wrote it!
BUT ISN'T THAT BOOK CONTROVERSIAL??
I suppose to some they may find lots of things to complain about, but I found nothing. Absolutely nothing but beauty, grace, and the most elegantly written portrayal of God's love.
Thanks Mr. Young, for writing something worth believing in, and for many, thanks for writing something that will lead so many people back to the loving arms of the Father, his son, and the comforting Holy spirit.
- Author, Shenette Swann Jones (Uncovered