My heart is filled to overflowing and my mind is racing....."Jesus loves me this I know"....such a simple song and yet probably one of the most profound. This morning I finished my first journey through a book that for no other way to describe it yet (my mind is still reeling) has rocked my world. I just finished reading "The Shack" and if you've been on the fence about reading it and have heard people talking about it (which you probably have) then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of it today.
I had been recommended to the book by a couple of my closest friends and mentors and also a whole slew of patients who kept coming in with it and reading it while waiting in our office to be seen. I started it this week and finished it up this morning with my breakfast.
This book is a "Paradigm Destroyer" so I wouldn't recommend reading it if you're not ready to re-think what you've been conditioned to think about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and who they are and the relationship they have with each other and with us. I love in the forward the writer says, "A couple of final disclaimers: Mack would like you to know that if you happen upon this story and hate it, he says, "Sorry....but it wasn't written primarily for you." Then again, maybe it was." Because if you read this story and refuse to really read it and look into yourself at your own story to see where you need healing, then yeah, you may hate it...because it is vvveeerrryyy convicting!
I think the thing (currently at least) that I loved the most about the book is the depiction of the relationship God desires to have with us. I've always had this weird view of God as this lofty heavenly being who sat more like a supreme court judge passing out judgements that a tender loving father who wants his children to climb into his lap and take in his mercy, love, and grace. I love the relationship it paints between God, Jesus his son, and the Holy Spirit. Being a very relational person, this part of the book made me cry because that's the exact type of God the Father that I would want, but had never thought of it that way. I had always been taught that you had to come to him in reverence and awe, and total protocol & respect when he just wants us to call him "Papa" and let him hold us and rejoice with us through the good, and help us through the bad.
The book is a wonderful depiction of forgiveness and rebirth...not of the person, but of the soul. The great thing about the forgiveness it talks about is when it says that "Forgiveness is not about forgetting, it's about remembering." It talks about how God doesn't ask us to forgive others and then forget all about what they did to us, rather he teaches us to forgive them in spite of remembering the offense clearly for what it was and choosing to forgive them anyway.
But one of the most beautiful parts of the book and one of the most meaningful to me because it is just where I'm at in my walk with the Lord right now is the illustration of the Holy Spirit ("Sarayu" in the book) and how he talks to us constantly and the ongoing dialogue we can have with him if we just listen. In the book Sarayu (Holy Spirit) promises to never leave Mack and to continually talking to him...if only he'll just keep listening. I always wondered why so many times, the things I hear the Spirit saying to me are so quiet. This weekend we had a guest speaker at Gateway, Rick Bezet, and he spoke about Forgiveness (and I swear he just finished The Shack too!!) and he said that the reason God whispers all the time is because in order to hear him you have to be still, lean in, and focus on him to hear clearly. It is an act of intimacy with us why he whispers because he desires that closeness so much from us. And to think that the God that made the entire universe and hung every star in the sky wants an intimate relationship with ME.....blows my mind. I'd never thought of it that specifically before. I've grown up in church and sang the songs, and answered the Sunday school questions, and can talk "Christian" with anyone....but have missed out until recently on owning the information. On really understanding this love...this relationship that I have with him. I may have to blog on this again because I'm still processing all of this but....I don't know...."Jesus loves me this I know..." I don't think I really knew before....but now I do....and it is blowing me away!