I read The Shack by William Paul Young several years ago and was at a different point in my own walk with Christ. Being a parent, it was a challenging read due to the basic storyline of the book. Watching the words come alive on the screen of the newly released movie was heart-wrenching, to say the least. Having lost a child just months prior to reading the book, the movie completely broke me.
Starring Sam Worthington (Avatar, Hacksaw Ridge), Academy Award® winner Octavia Spencer (Best Supporting Actress, The Help) and country music superstar Tim McGraw (The Blind Side), The Shack takes us through a father’s experience learning the ultimate truth about love, loss, and forgiveness. After a family tragedy, Mack (Worthington) spirals into a crisis of faith and questions God’s existence and life’s purpose. Mack is unable to move on, until he gets a mysterious invitation to an abandoned shack. There, God reveals Himself in the form of three strangers led by Papa (Spencer).
There’s something very special I want to plant here tomorrow, but to prepare the ground, we have to dig up all the roots. —Sarayu
One of my favorite quotes talks about giving our children roots. We all them. Some are good, while others tear through our foundation and rip us apart from the inside. For Mack, his tumultuous childhood with an enraged alcoholic father left him with a broken relationship with God. His attempt to bury the pain and success in breaking the abuse cycle, still left him with shattered pieces of his own sense of worth.
Religion is way too much work. I don’t want slaves. I want friends. Family. —Jesus
Unable to pull himself out of a cloud of depression after the death of his youngest daughter, Mack finds a mysterious letter inviting him to the very place where his daughter lost her life. His curiosity gets the best of him and he sets off on the journey. Soon after arriving, he finds himself in the presence of God (Papa), Jesus, and the Holy Spirit (Sarayu), all appearing before him in human form. Together, the three, the Holy Trinity, work to help Mack learn forgiveness and love.
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. That will only lead you to false notions about me. Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors. —Papa
By the end of the movie, I was in an uncontrollable sob. Colby had tears streaming down his face. There was a peace that came from the words projecting out of our speakers. For 9 years, I have held onto my own guilt that stemmed from losing our baby at 14 weeks gestation. That miscarriage left me depressed and alone in my own thoughts for months. Although I felt God’s presence without me throughout my journey, I never understood how much I blamed myself. Until now. The Shack helped put those things into perspective. In fact, just as Mack found it hard to help his oldest daughter work though her grief, I felt the same way with my other children. I was so wrapped up in my own.
Mack, you may not know this, but I am especially fond of you. —Papa
What an incredible feeling in must know to hear these words. To know that you are loved. You are forgiven. Just as Mack is able to find this after his journey to the shack, I felt the assurance after watching the movie. We all have our own journey, our own walk, and our own experiences. But, when you get right down to the fundamentals, love goes a long way no matter what you believe.
Special Features include:
- Audio Commentary with Director Stuart Hazeldine
- “Touched by God: A Writer’s Journey” Featurette
- “God’s Heart for Humanity” Featurette
- “Heaven Knows”: The Power of Song with Hillsong United” Featurette
- “Something Bigger than Ourselves: The Making of The Shack” Featurette
- “Premiere Night: A Blessed Evening” Featurette
- Deleted Scene