Dear Paul Young,
The Shack changed how I understand God. Before I read this book I never thought how God might feel or how he would do tasks. The Shack really made me think about what life would be like if I would have known how difficult it is for God to allow us to choose the wrong path.
When you described God as a woman in the beginning of the book, it made me think that God isn't always as we think He is. I mean, I've always thought of God as a man and that was that, until I read your book.
I clearly ached for Mack when Missy gets kidnapped. I thought, “ How could a kind and loving God do this to Mack?" Also, when Mack went to the shack and met the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, it made me think that maybe what I thought about God was way off base. Sometimes I felt like maybe you described God better than I know Him. What made me really think about my relationship with God was when Sarayu dug up that bed of flowers to make room for Missy's body so Mack can be at rest. Also, the fact that Nan always calls God Papa and at the end of the book after Mack's trip to the shack, he starts calling God Papa is so simple yet so powerful. When I read it, I thought," Wow, maybe if I tried that, maybe if I made an effort to get to know God, I would end up being closer to Him than I would've ever imagined."
Likewise, the problems Mack faces, for example, choosing between his kids, and the answers that follow as he realizes that God goes through this every day, were some that I never thought possible. Mack comes to realize that God doesn't mean for His children to go through hard times, but in order for some of the best experiences in life, one has to go through these times. I don't enjoy hard times, but I know that eventually I will see some good out of those times.
Another important message I found in this book also made me think the most. At the part in The Shack where Mack goes to see Sophie and he has to choose which of his kids goes to heaven and which goes to hell made me realize that that is actually what God goes through. I always thought that anyone who was really bad and did horrible things would always just go to hell. I never realized that God would have to think about it. I thought it would just be automatic. I know He loves all His children equally, but I guess I just never realized how hard it would be to give His children up and choose which ones go to heaven and which go to hell.
The Shack changed how I think about God and how I understand His decisions.
This book made me reflect about problems, answers, and most of all life experiences. The Shack changed my outlook on life and helped me realize that God can create good from bad.
Olivia C. Baxter