It begins with an unspeakably horrible tragedy happening to a loving father. (By way of explanation, I cannot write this review without at least giving that much away.) It’s the sort of nightmare every devoted parent dreads and secretly fears. In the aftermath of the disaster, the main character, Mack, attempts to put his life back together but finds he cannot. The devastation is too great; the chasm created by his loss is so unfathomable, his faith in a loving God is shattered.
Mack receives a strange and seemingly preposterous invitation to meet God at the very site – the shack – the scene where the unspeakable crime against his loved one occurred. The rest of the story is about Mack’s meeting with God which is unlike any other fictional description I've read of a Divine encounter. If you have ever longed to see God you will certainly appreciate this book. If you have experienced – or are going through – your own Agony in the Garden time in your life this book may be a very cathartic aid. It is my belief that is its real purpose. As such, God is presented most beautifully as 'relationship-in-love'. God is three distinct persons whose love for each other is one and yet extends to each and every one of us, His creatures. Mack heals as we may also heal, if we need any spiritual healing, through opening to God’s love.
As I mentioned early on, I am no expert in Theology and I have no doubt there are probably theological errors in The Shack. God as God, the Almighty, Our Creator, Savior, Redeemer, the Holy Spirit, etc. who has been worshipped, studied, prayed to, fought over and died for – for millennium – was not just suddenly figured out in 2007 by William P. Young and explained in 248 pages of fiction. This book is by no means definitive or the last word on God. It is, however, wonderful. It is a moving and a loving tribute to getting to know Him better. It is a helpful way to look at how God views the tragedies that happen in our lives. He does not inflict them on us. He suffers right along with us . . . just as He did 2000 years ago.