"What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked. 'My rabbi,' the blind man said, 'I want to see.' " Mark 10:51 ...."At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light" Issac Watts......"Beloved, the best place to meet God is not at the shack, but at the cross." Michael Youssef
There is a great deal of controversy right now concerning the movie, "The Shack." This writing is not going to enter into that controversy. While there can be no doubt about a lot of the questionable theology of it, I think it does allow for those who wish to have a greater view of His heart, especially concerning forgiveness and healing, the chance to do so. The Father can use anything to draw us to Himself, and if He is using this book and movie for that, it's a good thing. The danger here though is to think that this book/movie, or any book or movie in itself can bring us to know Him. They can be used of Him to point us to Himself, but only He can reveal who He is to us, and that can only happen at one place, the cross. The cross of Christ. It is there alone that we see Him in all His glory. We see His mercy, and we see His justice. We see His love of us, and we see His hatred of sin and all it consequences. Trying to understand Him in any way apart from the cross is an exercise in futility. It's at the cross we see the light. It's at the cross we receive our sight. It's at the cross that "the burden of our sin rolls away."
I came to Christ in 1979. What took place in my heart was real. Thereafter, I was in church every time the doors were open. I was richly blessed in having a pastor who not only knew Him intimately, but was able to present Him in such a way as to enlarge my desire to know Him as well. I faithfully read my Bible, as well as any book whose writing fed that appetite. I remember the devotional, "Streams In The Desert" being the first such book. I wanted to know more deeply, this God that my heart longed for and these men and women spoke and wrote of. Yet, despite the desire, something was missing. What was "missing" was His cross. It was a year almost to the day of my conversion that what I was missing, I discovered, and in the most mundane place.
By this time, following a "sense," and what I later knew to be His call on my life, I had moved out to Colorado to attend Bible College. When I had applied, I had signed an agreement that I would not use drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. The drugs and alcohol had been miraculously removed from my life upon conversion. Cigarettes, well they lingered on. This matter is not one of legalism, but integrity. I had signed and promised to not smoke, yet I was still smoking. With each one came my promise to Him that it would be the last one. The promise lasted until the next one. On an August evening, just a week before the beginning of classes, and after my latest promise to Him, I was leaving a convenience store, having just bought a fresh pack. I lit one up, and I heard His still, small voice whisper, "Is this the last one....again?" I melted. I was broken. I surrendered, fully, to Him. The One I had been pursuing so completely, now completely had me. I met Him there as He was that evening, as He was and is. At His cross. The cross of Christ. I would never be the same again. And at that place, a door opened for me to enter into a richness of knowledge of Him, and experience in Him. The place of the cross.
I still love to read His Word, as well as those who write from their own rich understanding of Him. Tozer, Nee, Sparks, Havner, Chambers, and Ravenhill. But they can only point me to Him. Only He can reveal Himself to me as He is, and He does so at His cross. If "The Shack" has served to point you to Him, be thankful. But you will not find Him there. He calls you to His cross, to Himself. To the cross of Christ.