William Paul Young’s novel, The Shack, was a New York Times #1 best seller that deals with loss, suffering, forgiveness and healing from a Christian perspective–and it’s hitting the big screen in March.
The story follows the lead character, Mack, as he interacts with God in a shack over a weekend to deal with the pain of losing his daughter, Missy.
Check out the newly released trailer below.
In our interview with Young he discusses his own spiritual journey and encourages others to let God show up in their healing process.
Paul, you wrote the book for your kids and it wasn’t meant for the public; what were you originally trying to accomplish with The Shack?
In the book I’m trying to build a story that wouldn’t be boring but would wrap up my own journey in a way that would keep my kids entertained and yet still talk to them about the things that really matter to me.
This was just a way to build a legacy piece for them, something to say, look, after 50 years this is what your dad thinks about who God is and the character of God, what pain and suffering are and what the process of healing is.
Your book has created a stir among some religious leaders because of the way you present God in your story. Were you prepared for the criticism?
I anticipated that it would bother people more in the religious community than it has. What has surprised me is some of the people that are the most angry about it haven’t even read it.
I think the controversy is a great thing. Not only is it having this wonderfully transformational impact in so many people’s lives, but it’s stirring up some of the religious paradigms in some other people’s lives.
The Shack is fiction, but how much of your own suffering shows up in the book?
I’ve never had a daughter that was abducted, but we’ve had plenty of loss in our family. The metaphor goes into my history, my own great sadness which involved a very difficult relationship with my father. I’m a missionary kid and a preacher’s kid. I was estranged from a father that was quite abusive and I was involved in a tribal culture where sexual abuse began.
My history is wrapped up in this shack, this house that we build on the inside. Mackenzie spends a weekend that represents 11 years of my life.
What would you say to those that are suffering right now, what steps should they take to begin the healing?
Be honest about their pain. We have this habit, especially religious people, of not acknowledging our own pain or diminishing it by comparing it to somebody else. We’ve got to acknowledge what our pain is and understand that healing is a process, it’s not going to be an event, and that we can’t do it by ourselves. Our healing will come through relationship because most of the damage comes through relationship.
We’re made in the image of a God, Father Son and Holy Spirit, in which community is essential to the very character of God. If you’ve got loss, you’ve got to let people in to that process and let God show up in the middle of that process and accomplish the healing that needs to be done.
What would you like your readers [and viewers] to take away from the story?
I would like them to have a sense that God is especially fond of them and involved in the details of their lives.