The Shack by William P. Young -- This book really made me consider my idea of God and what is important to Him. It challenged my perspectives on politics, hierarchy, relationships and -- one especially flaunted by most Americans -- independence. Who would have thought independence was such a bad thing? However I see that viewing it from God's perspective, independence -- that is, wanting to live in our own ways -- is what keeps us separated from the precious fellowship that He desired from mankind when He created Adam and Eve in the garden.
The author included quotes at the beginning of each chapter, and this particular one by A.W. Tozer struck a chord with me because I have thought of this same idea in years past. It is: "An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others." How wonderful that God doesn't have to divide Himself and each of us is given only a-millionth of a part of Him during our lives. I have thought in the past how it is that there are billions of people in the world each with various trials and sufferings in their lives. Most are suffering MUCH worse than I have ever suffered, however, I feel the sweet presence of God in MY life even when my "little" problems are weighing me down. Even when I feel heartbroken over something, I know He cares and He makes me feel as if I am of the greatest concern to Him. It reminds me how a mother will dote over her child when he fears the pain of just a tiny splinter in his finger. How even though that splinter is no grave concern in the grand scheme of things, she cares for that little child and comforts him as if he'd cut off a finger. I am touched that He cares for me that way.
A lesson I was reminded from this book is "the Truth will set you free" not to our human notions of "independence" but to true freedom. Truth sets us free and Truth has a name. The Bible says when the Son sets you free, you are free indeed. (see p. 95)
Another wonderful reminder was that often when we think of the future, we worry about what will happen and our thoughts are motivated by our fear and worry. Seldom when we imagine those worrisome scenarios do we picture Jesus there with us. Instead we picture ourselves scared, suffering, anxious, crying as if we had been abandoned by the One who promised to never leave or forsake us. (see p. 142)
Pages I noted that really spoke to me include these: 95, 100, 101 (love and relationship are possible on earth only because it exists already in God through the Father, Son and Holy Spirit's relationship and love for one another), 123 (choosing independence over relationship makes people manipulate and manage one another for their own happiness), 136, 137, 142 (we have fear in our lives because we don't fully trust God and we don't realize His love for us), 162, 163 (found worthy of love even if it costs everything), 178, 179 (institutions vs. relationships), 181 (freedom to love without an agenda), 192 (love doesn't force relationships, but it opens the way for them), 206-7 (God doesn't want part of our time; He wants to be involved in all of our days & He wants all of us).
Very thought-provoking book.