Jan 11, 2009

Psalm 61:1

Hear my cry, Oh God; listen to my prayer.

Recently, I finished reading The Shack. Someone at work recommended it to me and after my Amazon.com order finally arrived, I was excited to dive right in... I'd read that it was a life-changing book from numerous reviews, but when I was about a fourth of the way through, I was beginning to wonder what all the hype was about. I kept reading... and reading... and then found myself folding down pages as I read through it. It wasn't until well into the second half of the book that I realized what it was that was so deep.

I should divulge that while I'm not completely naive, I am spiritually immature. Evan Almighty provided a defining moment in how I understood how God worked. Morgan Freeman (God) met with Steve Carell's (Evan Baxter) wife (in the movie) and commented that she had been praying for courage but she wasn't exercising it. She couldn't understand what he meant so he (He?) explained that courage wasn't something that would just show up like in the Wizard of Oz; if she prayed for courage then God would give her opportunities to use courage. Yes, it took a movie to teach me this. Was this ever addressed in church? As plainly as it was shown in that movie? Girlfriends Guide to God, anyone? I certainly could use it!

As I continued reading The Shack I found that it wasn't a book that I, personally, could read quickly. I needed time to reflect. Now, if you're a bit more advanced in the eh, spiritual department than I am, it may be a faster read for you, but I needed the time. Oh boy did I need the time.

While I would love to share all of the pages I marked, I'll try to exercise some restraint because it truly is a great book and I'm sure everyone gets something different from it. I'm also sure theologians may dispute some parts of it but it provided a remarkable way of how God works. Or at least one view on it.

Just like my pivotal Evan Almighty moment, I had a similar moment when the book discussed the "hierarchy" of relationships. We often hear that God should be first, then others, then self. Our city actually has a nonprofit called JOY (Jesus first, others second, yourself last). It's a soup kitchen, but I digress... I learned from the book that this, actually, is alllll wrong! Jesus, God, should be center. Not first. Center. Center means that everything surrounds Him. Makes sense. Why am I just now learning this? I'd like to think that this is how I conduct myself, but I can't be too sure. Can I?

Check it out -- it was a #1 New York Times Bestseller and there are over two million copies in print. I forget how many languages it's being translated into (or just "to?") but it's good enough to be translated in every language. My opinion of course...

1 comment:

Lori Dalton said...

my husband bought this book for me for christmas because he heard such great things about it.. I personally thought it was a super "hard read".. not a big fan. Give me some Nicholas Sparks or Karen Kingsbury any day..

"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it, but I'm afraid God would ask me the same question."
You don't change the world by trying to change the world; you change the world by changing yourself.
-Gerry Straub