Secondly, and an even greater reason, was that I was having a hard time dealing with the death of my own unborn child less than 8 months ago.
However, at the insistance of more than one loving friend, I decided to give it a go. As I read through (the father) Mack's questions for God and struggles with blame, shame and disappointment, I really found myself relating. When it came time for the healing, I wasn't sure I was ready. However, just like he did with Mack, God put me on super-speedy recovery mode and did a work in my heart that has turned around much of my thinking. I'll try not to leave too many spoilers here...but you've been warned!
One emotion that Mack displayed that I could really relate to was his confusion that he might be being punished by God for a past wrong. I have felt a feeling similar to this since losing the baby. I've often thought that it was just too good to be true that all of my children had been born healthy and fine...that it was just "my turn" to have a tragedy happen. I thought that maybe it was my punishment for not losing weight like I'd promised myself so many times I'd do. I kept repeating something that my not-so-well-meaning dad said to me shortly after losing the baby, "maybe this was God's way of telling you that he doesn't want you to have any more kids." What? Who sends these kids anyway?? But that's another topic...
How thrilled I was when God spoke to my heart, "just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn't mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don't ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes," (The Shack, pg. 185). Praise God! I have found that I can forgive God now...and pray that he will forgive me for misunderstanding him and blaming him. Freedom's calling!
One thing that really spoke to me and made me recognize something about myself was when I began to understand that I imagine the worst possible scenarios and then do everything I can to try to avoid them. The problem with this is that I think I have control and really, I don't! I think that if I can plan out my life then I will be sure to make no wrong moves. But as Kent Hovind says, I know the things I know...but what about the things I don't know? This reminded me that before I even became pregnant with the child I lost, I was already planning on losing one. I had a name picked out and a strategy for dealing with the pain and all that. I thought that if I could plan for this then I wouldn't hurt so bad when and if it actually happened. However, since I'd never lost a child before, I couldn't begin to imagine the pain and ache that would follow. There was no way I could have prepared for this. I was putting my security in my plans and when my plans failed, I freaked. Thank God for God though, he really came through! He spoke to me the importance of vulnerability and trusting him. Freedom's calling!!
A question that I've always wondered about was answered for me through this book as well. On several encounters with God, Mack is reminded that God chooses to limit himself in order to have relationship with us. I've sometimes wondered why we need to say things out loud or speak words to God that he already knows...but sometimes he chooses to limit himself, chooses to need to hear us...for the sake of relationship.
I'd like to recommend this little book to anyone and everyone. I believe it is one of those "living books" that the Lord will use in a different and personal way for each person who reads it. Please visit: http://theshackbook.com/ for details.