March 6th, 2009

I think it might be my favorite paragraph in The Shack.

This quote comes from chapter 13, when the main character, Mack, is talking to Papa (God the Father).  Mack admits to Papa, “I’ve tried pretty hard to lock you out of my life.”

Papa answers, “People are tenacious when it comes to the treasure of their imaginary independence.  They hoard and hold their sickness with a firm grip.  They find their identity and worth in their brokenness and guard it with every ounce of strength they have.  No wonder grace has such little attraction.  In that sense you have tried to lock the door of your heart from the inside.”

How insightful!  Pastorally, I’m currently dealing with several individuals and families (some indirectly) where this is so true.  Wait…it’s not just “out there.”  It’s in me as well.  We all grasp our “imaginary independence.”   We hoard our sickness.  We guard our presumed identity, even though it’s built around brokenness, because it’s all we have.  We blame, we rationalize, we hide, we attack, and we deny, because it’s too risky face the truth.

Sometimes we succeed in this quest until we die.  Sometimes we just mellow a bit – but the sickness is still there.  Often a crisis will expose it – for Mack, it was the crisis of his “great sadness,” but it can come in many forms.

If this sounds like you, read The Shack.  Talk to a Christian counselor.  Read again the story of Nathan and David in 2 Samuel 11-12. Hear God’s Spirit saying, “This is about you.”  Risk uncovering the truth about what you’re doing to yourself and your family by hoarding your sickness.  Know that, as Papa later ays to Mack, God’s “love is a lot bigger than your stupidity.”  He’s waiting for you to admit how much you need his transforming grace.

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