Saturday, May 16, 2015

Discovering a book-- again! Spiritual food in fascinating "fiction?"

I write, but I also read a lot just to relax. The other day, I finished enjoying a book earlier than I anticipated.  I must admit that once I get into a reading frame of mind, it is like an addict with his drug of choice. I must read until I cannot absorb another word.  This night, I realized that ceiling was not yet hitting my head. So, I began searching through my multiple book shelves for something I might enjoy reading again.  I don't usually read a book more than once, but my addiction was eating me alive, and I had to feed my hunger.

Five minutes later, I stumbled upon "The Shack," by Wm. Paul Young.  I vaguely remembered sitting down with the book a few years ago, but for some reason I did not read very far into the book.  Just returned it to the bookshelves.  This time, I read the back cover. The theme sounded solid: a man suffering immense loss and hurt is led back to his past, and directly into the scene of his greatest hurt.  There, he meets some familiar strangers.  Strangers, for sure; but, with a sweetness he remembered as once knowing, but sorrowfully long lost.

This time, as I settled into the book, I could hardly put it down to eat or sleep.  I believe everything happens for a reason, and if one looks objectively from a distance, the circumstances are always used by God for human benefit, whether evil or good,  happy or sad.  Young uses the question humans have asked for centuries as the basis for a fascinating voyage into the possibilities of God's nature.   Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?   For personal reasons, the questions and discussions found within the story had a more resounding affect on me today than they would have if I read the book three years ago.  So much in my life has changed over those, and the past 25 years.  Taking time to consider the knowledge of God's nature as displayed in the book gives me a little more insight into my own condition, and I even made sense of some of the questions in my own life that have haunted me for years.

Faith plays a tremendous part in my life, and The Shack covers each page with faith: faith in God, faith in his deity and being, and faith in giving our hurts over to God so that He can work a miracle in our hardened and scarred hearts. Above all, faith that we are here to pass along God's messages through our good and not-so-good days, and that our lives are not lived in vain. God has a purpose that we are assigned to fulfill.

The Shack is a book of fiction -- but at its core is a book bespeaking of faith, prayer and soul searching. It was a #1 New York Times Bestseller and millions of copies were sold when first published in 2007.  The rich and famous, such as Kathie Lee Gifford, David Gregory, Michael W. Smith (recording artist), and artists, publishers and people of faith across the country endorsed the book.

Why not read it yourself?  If you already read it, why not read it again?  It will bring to remembrance why we are on earth and allow us a glimpse of heaven's glory at the same time. 

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