What is it like to meet God?

Mackenzie Allen Phillips, creation of author William P. Young, finds out for himself in this heart-warming novel.  It’s been three years since Mack’s youngest daughter was abducted and murdered.  Still wallowing in grief, his world turns upside down when he receives a note from “Papa”.  Haunted by the invitation to go back to his daughters murder scene, he secretly packs his car and heads out to the middle of nowhere.

Reaching “the shack”, Mack’s anger boils over as he curses God for the pain He’s caused.  However, instead of a dilapidated old cabin, he finds himself in another world full of beauty and wonder.  It is here that Mack meets Sarayu, Jesus and Papa.  For two heavenly days, Mack communes with the Triune God, changing his perspective and letting go of the weight load he’s been carrying for so long.

Though a bit slow in the beginning, this story picks up about half-way through.  I found myself thinking deeply about the true nature of God, wondering at His gentle love which is portrayed in this novel.  The message of relationship is clearly the intent, as Young weaves together the four main characters of the story.  I also appreciate the comforting reminder that God works all evil for “the good of those who love him”, as he did in Mack’s life.  My guess is that Young suffered his own personal tragedy during which God tenderly cared for him, allowing him to create such an amazing path through doubt and faith.

I would recommend this book to someone facing a difficult situation, perhaps to those who question God’s love in the face of significant pain or loss.  I’m not confident all will love this book, though; I sometimes felt as if I was an outsider looking in to something I didn’t quite understand.  The nature of the book was deeply intimate, yet transparent in a way I cannot express.  Perhaps the intimacy built with God in midst of suffering and anguish can only be experienced.  It was clear to me however, that it was not Mack who called, but God.  I think that’s true, and it’s what I’m waiting for.

To read another more lengthy review of this book that touches on the theological implications of this book, click here.

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