What is your perception of God? Do you have a distinct picture of what He looks like? An old Zeus figure with a white beard? Do you imagine Jesus to be how He is always depicted? Tall, dark and handsome, with an immaculately groomed beard? What about the Holy Spirit, a white dove? Or a white flame? Interestingly, 'The Shack' gives a haunting account of a man, Mackenzie Philips's own encounter with the Trinity after a tragic loss in his life. It tells of his own perception of how he can relate to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
One day I was asked by my mother, how do you see God? I was baffled by that question, as I never really thought about it. She then asked, do you relate to Him like you relate to your own father? This made me think, I actually did. I wouldn't say I was never close to my dad, but I did have a somewhat distant relationship with him. I was never allowed to get too close, and surprisingly that summed up my own relationship with God.
In contrast, Mackenzie Philips's, own interpretation of God throws one off the common perception of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I mean does anyone ever picture God, to be an impressive African American mum figure? Jesus to be, a not so handsome, but ordinary looking Middle-Eastern man? And even the Holy Spirit, to be this flakey Chinese woman, with light emanating from her entire figure?
However, regardless of how one visualises the Trinity, Mackenzie Philips's encounter with such depictions specifically allows him to get close to them. We later find out that Mackenzie had a very turbulent relationship with his own father, so much so that God knew not to appear to him as a 'father figure,' but as someone he can approach. This begs the question, should we then change our traditional perception of how we view God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, to something or someone we can easily approach?
Not only does 'The Shack' question representation, Wm Paul Young, the author moves us to feel that God, in His own time allows the human spirit to be healed. Mackenzie, always referred to his suffering as "the great sadness," which is understandable, since his youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family's vacation. However, despite this great pain, for Mackenzie, and any parent who has ever lost their child, God is still with him, by him and watching over him.
It represents so many issues that many people face, namely; suffering, grief, frustration, anger, humour and most of all faith. 'The Shack,' to me, spoke with the message, 'it's alright to grieve and be distant from God in times of great suffering, but you must remember God in his own time, will eventually heal you and speak to you, usually when you are ready to let go and forgive.'
I highly recommend this book to any Christian. Just read it through the eyes of faith, rather than theology. It may move you or pose more questions about your faith, either way, have a read then let us know what you think!