This post is part of my adventure series…click here to make sure you catch the whole series.
This week I finished reading The Shack by William Paul Young, and I have to say that I think this book is one of the most moving books I have read in a long time. The book is fiction, but it contains within it a parable that vividly paints a picture of what it means to live in relationship with God. For me it was so deeply convicting and profound that I had to put the book down and pray…all the while crying because I have so misunderstood the nature of God.
I had to ask myself… do I have a truly biblical vision of what God is like? Or do I have a vision of God that is more a reflection of Roman, Greek and whatever other cultures have added a bit of spin in the last 2000 years? It’s important for me to find answers to those questions because it will be those answers that govern how I relate to God, and how I live as his child.
Aside from the insights into the unity and function of the Trinity, there was one other part of the book that completely freaked me out. God took the main character (Mack) for a walk through the forest. God’s purpose for this trek was to bring healing and restoration to Mack’s life through confession and forgiveness. As God led Mack through the forest, he pointed out little red crescent markers along the way. The markers were on trees and rocks, some were easy to see, some were hidden, but there and God knew what he was looking for. These markers were the guideposts that would ultimately solve one of the book’s mysteries.
Those of you who have been following my adventure will have read about my own set of little red markers in the bush (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can read about it HERE). When I read the passage, the hair on the back of my neck and on my arms stood up, and my heart started to beat so hard it was like I had been doing a workout.
My initial reaction was to be freaked out. This was way out of the ordinary. The imagery was identical, the spiritual journey was so similar. The coincidence was too much for me to take in. I emailed a good friend and relayed the story. My friend suggested that it was perhaps God’s way of confirming that he is working in my life.
I know that there really are no coincidences when it comes to God, and that there doesn’t have to be a burning bush for him to speak to me…but this just blew my mind.
An added element of confirmation for me was this: I have had this book sitting on my desk since Christmas. Mum gave it to me and said that it was good, but I hadn’t really felt like reading it. I don’t normally read a lot of fiction books, and I had heard conflicting reviews about it. It wasn’t calling to me. But then when I was packing to go away on my retreat, I remembered the book and threw it in my bag. I read the first couple of chapters while I was away, but didn’t really get into it. By the time I got into the meat of the book (in this last week and a half) I was well and truly in exactly the right place to hear the message within. Another example of God’s amazing timing.