Yesterday at the very end of our morning church service we had a few surprise guests. Our pastor, his wife, and their 22-year old son Jonathan Pound were on stage addressing the church. In December, Jonathan was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. He had gone in to the doctor for back pain, following an injury while climbing. They discovered malignant tumors, and he is now receiving Round 3 of his very difficult chemotherapy.
Mrs. Pound spoke first, through tears, and thanked everyone for their support. It was her first chance to talk to the church as a whole since Jon was diagnosed.
Then Jon spoke. Weakly, but determinedly, he thanked everyone for their support and prayers. And he said, at first when he was diagnosed he wondered “Why me?” and then he said, “but then I looked around and saw all the starving children all over the world. Children dying needlessly from a lack of food, and he started asking, “Why NOT me?”‘
Essentially, why should HE be spared just because he’s a Christian? And in fact, shouldn’t Christians be the ones these terrible things happen to because at least we have HOPE?
And then I read “The Shack” last night. I bought it for Roy for Valentines Day. It’s a book he mentioned some time ago as wanting to read, and I wanted to get it for him. Since I can speed read, and he was doing other things, I asked him if I could read it.
The book essentially processes those same questions Jon referred to. It was difficult to read at times. I even told Roy I might not be able to read it after reaching certain parts of it. I did put it down, but only for a moment.
It’s the story of a man who has experienced a horrific tragedy and his journey of faith. This book describes the Persons of the Trinity in a way that was so tangible, I wanted to jump into the book and participate myself. The story itself is fictional of course, but it could so easily come from a front page headline. At the very end, I was bawling, almost nonstop. Everyone had gone to bed, and I had retreated to the bathtub (my favorite reading place) and I was almost sobbing for the heartbreak, the love, the redemption, the forgiveness.
The Shack itself is the place where Mack (the main character) confronts the past and His relationship with God. The persons of Papa (God the Father), Jesus, and Sarayu (The Holy Spirit) are beautifully illustrated and challenging to my own perceptions of God. I think that’s entirely the point! It’s a book I need to read again some time soon. Digest it again – and process it at least one more time. It left me with many questions about myself, and if you’ve read it, maybe its left you with the same kinds of questions:
- How well do I really KNOW God? How much have I invested in our relationship and is he just a priority, or is He everything to me?
- How much do I really TRUST God and His GOODNESS? When things are bad, do I trust God’s goodness?
- How much do I embrace CHRIST in my life? Not just try to imitate Him, but to invite Him into every part of my life and allow HIM to live through me?
There’s more, but again, I need to process.
If you’ve read this book, what did you come away with?
(P.S. As mentioned I purchased this book, so my review of it is my own personal and honest opinion, not based on incentives of any kind. The link for the book is one of my affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.)