16 May 2012

Lessons from The Shack: The Father Heart

I have recently re-read The Shack. People tend to either love it or hate it. Me - I love it. To me it shows our God as so much bigger and better than anything our limited human expectations, knowledge or even experience could hope to dream up when we think of Him. We tend to try and put him in a box with a label God and we think we know what's inside it, but The Shack blows away any box or limitation we might try to put on Him. So let me share with you a few truths that have spoken deeply into my being in my journey to The Shack:

Lesson One - The Father Heart 

God is neither male nor female. So why do we always think of him as being exclusively male?

This is what The Shack has to say:
I am neither male nor female, even though both genders are derived from my nature. If choose to appear to you as a man or a woman, its because I love you. For me to appear to you as a big, black motherly woman and suggest that you call me Papa is to simply mix metaphors to help you from falling so easily back into your religious conditioning.

To reveal myself to you as a very large, white grandfather figure with a flowing beard, like Gandalf, would simply reinforce your religious stereotypes.

How why do we tend to only hear of him as a Father? Why is he revealed most this way?

There are many reasons for that, and some of them go very deep. Let me say for now that we knew once Creation was broken, true fathering would be much more lacking than mothering. Don't misunderstand me, both are needed - but an emphasis on fathering is necessary because of the enormity of its absence.

This got me to thinking how many hundreds of millions, if not billions of children on the planet who are alive right now have come from broken or non-existent parent relationships.

In most cases, if not all the child more naturally lives with the mother when the parents relationship (if they ever had one) falls apart.

How much more than must a Father be needed? A Heavenly, loving Father who will not leave when the going gets tough, who will not forsake, who will be the Father figure these children have never had?

Coming from a 2-parent family (and in an extended family history where there have been very few break-ups) I had never thought of how a child's heart must ache so terribly not to see both figures in their lives, to see the bond of love that exists between a mother, father and child. The triangle of love.

But God the Father, Papa, he sees it. He knows that ache. And is here to heal, to bridge that chasm, to be the Father some have never known.

What a glorious opportunity for redemption and relationship, freely available to us all.

He's there, He's always been there.

Our Papa waits for us.


PaisleyJade said...

I LOVED it too! I was all prepared for a very controversial book when I went to read it and was totally in love with it!

remaliah said...

Beautiful Meg...and so true. So often it's so hard to comprehend such love too! I also loved the book...I'm sure we will be completely shocked when we really see how much bigger, more good, more loving and more beautiful God is than we could ever have imagined here on earth. Sometimes I glimpse the tiniest realisation and it makes me want to cry. I guess it's easier for us to box concepts and things, and to do this with God to try and understand Him at least a little, but...I think the reality of who He is is so much bigger and more often than not, very different to the way we imagine Him/Her (!) to be :o)

Jaz from Treacy Family said...


and stay well Meg. Thinking of your often xx

Jaz from Treacy Family said...

thinking of YOU often makes much more sense. Have a positive day. xxxxxxxxx

Cat said...

oh Meg
I love your vulnerable heart here
so beautiful
I loved The Shack...(are you surprised hehehe)
I am all about getting God out of the box
oh we need that so much in this world!!!

"but an emphasis on fathering is necessary because of the enormity of its absence."
that line is such a call out to men...such a reflection of our times, and this knows no boundaries, no social statues, no colour....God provides for all
this we can take comfort in my friend
and those good men...it is time for them to rise up and set examples to all the men and boys in their lives...not preach to them but guide them, reflect to them, what being a real man means...

beautiful post Meghan
your heart is sweet
hope you are getting better♥

love and light

Gail said...

I am yet to read The Shack. I love this pearl you've shared. It totally makes sense to me.... coming from a very broken family. I was brought up by my father, the absence of the other parent can only be filled by God. This much, I know to be true.


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