Hurting? Find comfort at "The Shack"

In a world where unexplained tragedy occurs, William Paul Young's novel "The Shack" may serve as a source of comfort. The New York Times Bestseller tells the story of Mackenzie Allen Phillips, whose little daughter Missy has been abducted and brutally murdered.

In the aftermath, "Mack" questions the goodness of God and in his anger and depression begins to wonder why he should follow God.

Then, on a wintery day, Mack receives a note from God in his mailbox inviting him to meet God at the shack where Missy was killed. Mack accepts the invitation and heads back to the dreaded place not knowing what to expect. What he finds there changes him completely.

"The Shack" has been in print since 2007 and has received mixed reviews. Some readers hate it, others love it. Most of the hatred seems to be based on how the author depicts the Trinity, which goes beyond the conventional view that God is a male. Young's depiction is not modern feminist theology, however, his view echoes Scripture and what Christian writer Henri Nouwen wrote in "The Return of the Prodigal Son," that "God is both Father and Mother to us."

The question then becomes, are conventional views of the Trinity correct? Who really understands the Trinity anyway? "The Shack" definitely gives thoughtful material on the matter.

The book also addresses the question of how God communicates with people. Is God's revelation limited to Scripture? Does God still speak to his children they way he spoke to people in the Bible? "The Shack" provides hope that God has not stopped speaking; in fact, it sparks the imagination as to how God does speak to us.

Overall, "The Shack" makes God look good. The writer emphasizes several times that Jesus came in flesh. The book does not degrade the Bible in any way. "The Shack" provokes thoughtful response on the questions that people have been asking since the dawn of time: What is the nature of God? Does God speak to humanity? It also addresses the greatest question of all: Does God care for me?

Young's easy style of writing makes the book a fast read, but don't read it too fast. You'll miss out on the depth of the story.

You can find "The Shack" at The Shack