This book was recommended to me by a good friend. She warned me that it would be very sad and shocking. I’ll skip the sad part, you can read that, I want to tell you about the shocking part, the way we view God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
I honestly see God as a white grandfather man, white long hair, white beard wearing a white flowing robe and He’s standing on a cloud (that’s white of course) and the back ground is white. It’s amazing I can see Him at all, right? But that’s the images I’ve been fed all my life. After getting to know Him more I realize I have put Him in this nice neat little box that isn’t true at all. He isn’t a man, He doesn’t have flesh and doesn’t have hair and has no need for a robe of any color. I have shredded that box! I realize I can see Him however I want, however He wants me to see Him. In the Bible it’s written “no man has seen the face of God” because it is so bright and beautiful. The Bible also says that Adam and Eve walked with God every evening. So, they saw something. They saw who God wanted them to see – an image that their eyes could handle. In this book the man, Mack, with the sadness saw God and He was a large black woman named Papa. That was hard to handle at first and some people don’t want to even read the book because of that but the author wanted you to remove all the other “pictures” you had of God and take them out of your box. The man had a problem with it also and when he questioned God, He replied, “I am neither male nor female, even though both genders are derived from my nature. If I choose to appear to you as a man or a woman, it’s because I love you. For me to appear to you as a woman and suggest that you call me ‘Papa’ is simply to mix metaphors, to help you keep from falling back so easily into your religious conditioning.” So, if you know God then no matter what ‘costume’ He’s wearing you will be able to pick Him out of a crowd. I wonder how many times we encounter God in a day but rush right by Him because we don’t KNOW him. The devil could come to us in the ‘White” image and we could unfortunately recognize him as God. It’s what on the inside that counts not the outside.
I see Jesus as this tan slender Middle Eastern man with long dark brown hair, beard or no beard, He doesn’t have large muscles and of modest height. You know this image, you’ve seen it a million times too. In the book I see Jesus much the same way in stature but now I see even more on the inside. The author writes, “The truth shall set you free and the truth has a name; he’s over in the wood shop right now covered in sawdust. Everything is about him. And freedom is a process that happens inside a relationship with him. “ The book explains in much more detail how human and how godly He is.
I have always thought of the Holy Spirit as 3rd in the Trinity. For some reason 3rd on the list doesn’t seem as important as God or Jesus but that’s my religious background painting this picture for me. Actually, it’s easy to describe but hard to comprehend in our human brains. God is the Holy SpiritandHe is Jesus and they are God. The three are equal to each other and they don’t work independently from one another but they are…different. In the book Jesus describes the Holy Spirit, “my spirit, the Spirit of God who restores the union that was lost so long ago.” The Holy Spirit is described as an Asian woman who “seemed almost to shimmer in the light, and her hair blew in all directions even though there was hardly a breeze. It was almost easier to see her out of the corner of your eye than it was to look at her directly.”
This book definitely gets you thinking and opening your heart and mind to something more than what we’ve ever been told. It’s not about thinking of God in a certain way, it’s about knowing who He is by knowing His character, knowing the truth about Him. You will see God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in a whole new way. This is one of the most loving books I’ve ever read – besides the Bible. This author captures the Trinity’s love for us in a way that we can imagine. Instead of trying to figure out what They look like we should be trying to understand the love They have for us.
“An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others.” A.W.Tozer (That’s a quote from the book.)
If you have lost a loved one so dear to you that you feel you can’t breathe anymore read the Bible and The Shack. You will still miss your loved one but you will love God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit more than you ever have before. “When all you can see is your pain, perhaps then you lose sight of me”, God.