Walking in to see “The Shack” with my family, I wasn’t really expecting this movie to challenge me. I had read the novel by William P. Young three different times and thought this story had challenged me as much as it could. I was completely wrong about this interpretation, as seeing a book I had read so many times put into a moving picture challenged me in my faith in some new ways.
“The Shack” is about a man named Mack Phillips (Sam Worthington) who falls into depression and struggles with his view of God after a camping trip with his kids ended tragically. In the midst of his struggle, he receives a letter that tells him to go to the place his life fell apart — the shack. Despite what Mack thinks of the situation, he decides to go and find out what this person who sent the letter wants from him.
When he arrives at the shack, Mack encounters a trio of strangers that represent the trinity, led by one woman named Papa (Octavia Spencer) who represents God. Through his time at the shack, Mack finds important truths that change his view of the tragedy he went through, along with his view on life, forever.
I found myself rethinking the way I react to tragedies throughout this entire movie. There were so many lines said throughout the movie that make you stop and really think. The line that has stuck with me — and I’ve been pondering it and thinking over it — is when Papa says to Mack, “I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment.”
This line hit home for me because it’s so easy for us to blame God for all the bad things that happen in our lives and in the world around us. It’s easy to forget that God is not the reason bad things happen in the world. Bad things happen in the world because of sin. God doesn’t enjoy watching us, his children, hurt and be hurt, but that is the reality of the world right now. Thankfully, God didn’t just leave us here to try and figure out life on our own. Even when life is scary and nothing really makes sense, we can hold onto the promise that God is in control and we are never alone.
If you are planning on going to this movie, I suggest you take kleenex and an open mind. You don’t know what might challenge you after watching this move.
Emma Lehman is a freshman broadcast media major. This review reflects the views of the author only.