The Shack: A Shovel In The Heart

The new movie, The Shack, based on the hit novel of the same name, tells the gripping story of great pain and shocking loss. But right there is where The Shack steps beyond another retelling of the human suffering story.

It does so by revealing loss as a doorway to life. As such, it challenges our definitions of “good.” In other words, it confronts our assumption that “good” is a synonym for my preferences and desires…you know, good equals painless.

The Shack is a shovel, thrown deep into your heart. For example, it makes us face the truth about personal judgments. To reach a verdict against any human – terrorist, deviant, killer, traitor, or even myself – is to presume against the Creator and only Judge of us all. Therefore, for me to judge anyone is an audacious (and dangerous) demand that I be crowned King.

Against the backdrop of those illusions, The Shack invites us to step into a much higher view: God is with us through all of life, including the painful and horrid moments. That perspective forces us to realize that life is a continuum; our earth life is a like a capsule of time and space floating in a sea of eternity. Whatever we lose here, we find there. Death is never “the end.”

Finally, for me, The Shack is a powerful reminder that Heaven often arrives in an earthly eruption of Hell. So when I insist that life please me and never bring any pain, I miss the portal that so often brings Heaven on earth.

In all of these perspectives, The Shack is a surprising, powerful, and clear view of The Kingdom of God. That beautiful dominion of God invades our world (including our comfort zones, preferences, and myopia) and reveals a new and radiating increase of His authority.

And that new government brings peace, rest, and joy.

This is Worth Sharing
Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrPrint this page

Written by on Friday, March 10, 2017

Filed Under: Culture,death,God,loss,Suffering


5 Responses to “The Shack: A Shovel In The Heart”

  1. Chris Hoffman says:

    I have copied below what I posted yesterday after seeing The Shack with you and Joanne. I wish I had your gifted talent of writing since you so well share what I saw and came away with after watching it.
    Linda and I went with friends this afternoon to see The Shack. I read the book several years ago. The book and the movie speaks in so many ways to my heart. The movie’s themes of encountering tragedy and evil, being set free from a prison of judging others, finding forgiveness, encountering redemption, experiencing the love and friendship of God abound in this tremendous movie that speaks to our hearts if we allow it. Neither book and movie are to be considered theology. But we have all been blessed not only with a charming movie but with a visual delight and display of the love of God for us. If you are yearning to be embraced by the love of God this movie will come to your side with great warmth and encouragement.

  2. Joseph Horevay says:


    Your evaluation of the Shack is a refreshing alternative to my own trinitarian frustration with the book. You reminded me how great good can come from imperfect sources.


  3. Dear Ed,
    You did it again! Brilliantly captured the truth and shared it with us all. Thanks for these great reflections. . loved the lines:
    The Shack is a powerful reminder that Heaven often arrives in an earthly eruption of Hell. So when I insist that life please me and never bring any pain, I miss the portal that so often brings Heaven on earth.

    Saw the movie on Monday. .and appreciated how it dealt with deep and challenging issues. Arthur Burk says that we are in the Mercy Season – and this book give a fresh understanding of the goodness of God and His tender mercies toward us all.

    After months and months of continually judgement and anger from so many sectors of our country. . .we can pray and hope that the fresh winds of mercy and kindness will be released over our communities. And that the spirits of humility and love will help unite us to expand the Kingdom of Heaven instead of fanning the fires of hell.

    Blessings to you and Joann – on this second day of Purim.

    Keep writing. . we love it.

  4. Jeff Collene says:

    Thanks, Ed. Well said. I ache for those who are threatened by this expression of encountering pain and forgiveness.

  5. Bob VandeBrake says:

    Ed- The best review I have read. The shack has to be one of the best, and I appreciate your observations.

Leave a Reply