Such a muddle of thoughts are rolling around in my head today. I have spent the past few days reading The Shack (more on that later, but for some insights on it read this). I know, it’s been out for a while, but I am sometimes behind the learning curve with pop culture. I figured I should read it because people out there are reading it and I need to be prepared.
I found myself surprised by the depth of insight the author has, presenting certain theological truths with clarity. But I am reminded that Satan himself tends to use Biblical truth and then twist it for his own purposes, and I have some serious concerns with the book. As a Lutheran, trained in theology, I am aware of the relationship of law and gospel as the two-edged sword of the Word of God. More than anything, this book was lacking in any concept of law.
But anyway, others have reviewed the book, better than I can. The reason I started to write this entry is because in the midst of reading The Shack (which is primarily an attempted answer to the question, “Where is God in the midst of human suffering?”), I have also watched some television. Yesterday I watched a recording of Friday night’s Stand Up to Cancer event, simulcast by the big three networks. Then this morning, I watched MSNBC’s re-running of the footage from 9/11/01, in real time. What was so sad to me in watching these things is how lost we all seem to be. Stand Up to Cancer featured a series of personal stories interwoven with a performance of John Lenon’s “Imagine.” While I find the tune of this song particularly beautiful, I get frustrated with the message, that we need to work together because there might not be anything else, and all of the rest (religion, God, countries, etc.) are just a human-made construct. And watching as the twin towers collapsed all over again, I was reminded of those pictures that showed Jesus in the clouds gathering the souls of all of those who died to Himself, pictures that assume that just because someone dies tragically it means they are bound for heaven, apart from their relationship with Christ.
I think these things would align perfectly with The Shack. And I get sad, thinking about how many people get led astray by things that “seem” like they are of God. But then it leads me back to the Bible, to reading God’s Word for me, and it reminds me to pray, without ceasing. And I am reminded that while we as a society seem to be lost, Christ came to seek and to save the lost. I get to play a role in leading others to Him – thanks be to God!
bethany actually said:
I have never even heard of The Shack! I might have to look that up.
I have always loved what Philip Yancey wrote about how God feels about human suffering. I can’t find the exact quote, but I think it was in The Jesus I Never Knew. I’m paraphrasing here, but basically he said that he can’t really know why God allows suffering, but he can know how God feels about it by looking at Jesus’ face, and that face is a face streaked with tears. Jesus wept when his friend Lazarus died, he grieved with the grieving and he raised the dead and healed the sick. Clearly, God is not indifferent to human suffering; in fact, he hates it.
Thanks for adding that – you are absolutely right!