The Shack by William Paul Young

If I had to give one example of the word “emotional”, I would choose “The Shack” by William P. Young. This book definitely made me cry quite a few times. The Shack is by far, one of the best books I have ever read. It’s also one of the hardest books I’ve ever read because of how something so terrible and tragic can happen to someone and then they can forgive. This book was definitely hard for me to wrap my mind around. It’s a story of how a man named Mackenzie Allen Phillips suffers the tragic loss of his youngest daughter on a camping trip with his three children. The daughter gets kidnapped by a serial killer, then taken to an old abandoned shack way out in the woods. She is then killed there. The whole story is about Mack going to this shack two years later and meeting God in person there (More like meeting God in three persons). He spends three days with God and learns so much. He basically goes from hating God for letting this happen to loving God and trusting Him as his father. There are so many great things about this book! The story is breathtaking; although I don’t completely agree with its theology. The three things that stick out the most to me in this book is the portrayal of God, all the mixed emotions Mack is going through, and the forgiveness in the end.

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The way that William P. Young portrays God in this book is really interesting. I really like how he has God in three persons because of the trinity. I don’t only like how he makes Him three persons. He really captures how they all have different personalities, but at the same time, they all are one with each other and they all think the exact same thing. In the Bible, it describes how God is “Three in One.” This is Called the Trinity. Three are the following: God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is three in one. Even some of the most intellectual and greatest theologians can’t wrap their mind around this. That’s how big God is. We can’t even come close to fitting Him in our little three pound brains. The one that is supposed to be God the Father is Papa. The really interesting thing about this one is that He is in the form of tall black woman. What’s so interesting about this is how William P. Young is reminding us that God isn’t human; therefore He doesn’t exactly have a specific gender, nor a skin color. God can appear in whatever form He chooses. It’s just really interesting how He takes the form of a woman of color because women of color have been treated very poorly in the past. The second one is really interesting. Her name is Sarayu, which means “Wind” or “Holy River.” It comes from the Indian origin. She is supposed to be the Holy Spirit of Jesus. She is also not white. She appears as an asian woman. This is kind of the same story of how the Holy Spirit is not a human. It is a spirit. He can take the form of anything. Again, He takes the form of someone who has not been treated right throughout history. The third one of course, is Jesus himself. Jesus is a man because He is one hundred percent man and one hundred percent God. He is The son of man and the Son of God. I really like the personality He has in this book. He has a lot more of a playful, boyish personality. The thing I love most about this trinity is how they are on the same page on everything. They love each other so much and they love Mack so much throughout the whole story.

Another thing about this book that really draws the reader into the amazing amount of different emotions Mack has. It’s not surprising, but the author really captures the emotions. First, it’s just the absolute shock Mack has when his daughter dies. Two years later, he starts blaming God for his daughter’s death. He then, hates God and becomes very angry with God. That part is really hard because I can only imagine what he’s going through. Even when he meets God, he’s still stubborn and tries to keep his anger with God, but God just keeps on loving him. That’s one of the things I love about this book. It shows how faithful God is. Even when we let go of God, He never lets go of us. Once He’s got us, He will never let go.

The forgiveness in this book is just amazing! In this book, God shows Mack that he is just as deserving of Hell as the man who murdered his daughter. God is really showing Mack that he needs to learn to forgive just like He has. So, God is basically saying “I have forgiven you for all your sins, so you should do the same because my forgiveness is the ultimate gift.” Mack then, forgives the killer and his dad who used to beat him. This part of the book really shows how unworthy we are to put ourselves in the judge’s seat because we’re not God. The point is that we are not to judge, but we are to forgive no matter how much someone hurts us and let God be the judge.

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William P. Young does a phenomenal job giving a very interesting portrayal of God through the three persons. He really captures all the different emotions that Mack feels and the amazing forgiveness. Again, this book was definitely hard to read and very emotionally draining and is one of the best examples of the word “emotional.” This is by far, one of the best books I have ever read. This book is an amazing story of tragedy meeting forgiveness.