Saturday, December 13, 2008

In Love, All Over Again

Before you jump into conclusions, this has nothing to do with the previous post, but everything to do with a book called The Shack.

My friends who have read the book, say the title with a touch of reverence and with eyes opened just a bit wider. And almost always, there’s this nanosecond pause before saying the title, like so: “Have you read…The Shack?”

If that doesn’t get you curious, then nothing would!

At first glance, the cover didn’t help. How warm and inviting is a picture of a lonely old run-down hovel that has seen better days—probably decades ago? To make it less inviting, it is dark and in the dead of winter. Only after I read the whole thing did I take a second look at the cover and notice the hint of something more inviting, more promising.

But the hint of something promising I saw in the eyes of those who have read it was enough to make me curious. So when I was lent a copy, I jumped on it—and so started the journey of falling in love all over again.

Peeking through the first pages of the book, I felt a little bit like Lucy Pevensie when she first opened that old creaky door of The Wardrobe, fumbled through the dark musty closet and suddenly found herself in breathtakingly beautiful Narnia.

What could be beautiful about a story of a father, Mackenzie Allen Philips, who lost his daughter in a tragic and cruel way? The cruelty I read in the first few chapters of the book made me want to quit—it was too painful and stirred up in me an anger that made me forget I was reading fiction. There are enough real-life situations to make one realize this is not just something that only happens in a book.

Yet, to stop reading almost meant leaving a gaping wound open. I had to read through to find my closure. And so throughout the book, I journeyed with Mack. I felt with him his barren loneliness, numbed defeat, bitter bewilderment, stark pain, heart-stopping surprise and later, unspeakable joy.

It showed me a different side of grief, and a refreshing view of The One Person who always gets the blame for every wrong thing in this world. The book showed me how in a wonderfully miraculous way, God upends what man meant for ugliness and evil and turn it into something beautiful and good. It also impressed upon me once again that no-holds-barred love that God has for a stubborn bunch of humans—so much so that He would sacrifice His own power and open Himself up to pain and suffering.

The ironic thing when I was reading this book and almost literally seeing lightbulbs turning on in my mind—is that it is nothing new. The truths are ancient. I read them over and over again in the Good Old Book. Yet being a dulled-by-too-much-hi-tech-entertainment Gen Xer, it took The Shack to take the thickening cataracts off my eyes and see the Bible for what it is, and see God for who He is.

And so I have fallen in love all over again.

I invite you to do the same.

P.S. I have since bought my own copy of The Shack. It is cheaper at National Bookstore than at Powerbooks. *grin*