Multnomah Falls, Oregon
The Shack by WM. Paul Young released in 2007.
For ten long years, I danced around the book. Intrigued but fearful of what I might find inside those pages.
About a month ago, my husband plucked a copy from a shelf of our local, family-owned Christian bookstore. It’s been nestled among a stack of bestsellers, on a night table in our bedroom, silently beckoning me ever since.
We just returned from the movie, of the same title. It features an all-star lineup of actors like Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer, Tim McGraw and Graham Greene, to name a few.
This is a story about Mackenzie Allen Philips. A man who loves his wife and three children. The pain and secrets he carries are only compounded when the unthinkable happens:
“Mack’s youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.
Against his better judgment, he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever.”
This is a beautiful film about asking God the tough questions in life. About being real and letting God be real back. It’s about forgiving and being forgiven.
While the actors are top-rate and the cinematography stunning, what moved me most and left me drenching a fistful of napkins with my tears, was the raw emotions within relationships. The struggles and strain. The awkward moments and angry outbursts. The silent sufferings. The hope and grace available to anyone who longs to be restored and revived.
“If you ever get a chance to hang out with Mack, you will soon learn that he’s hoping for a new revolution, one of love and kindness–a revolution that revolves around Jesus. It will be a revolution involving the daily powers of dying and serving and loving and laughing, of simple tenderness and unseen kindness, because if anything matters, then everything matters.”
I’m at a juncture in my journey, where I’m through with letting fear dictate and define my path. Where I’m letting God’s love cast it out, and like Mack, moving beyond the past and charging forward to tell others about the freedom we all can claim.
Will you open your heart, too?
After all, “God’s especially fond of you.”