‘The Shack’, Many small gods: Chapter 1

'The Shack' by William P. Young
'The Shack' by William P. Young

We continue now with the good, the bad, and the application from The Shack. In this chapter we see Mack after his great tragedy and before his meeting with god. Young again writes well, conveying the listlessness with which Mack goes about his icy day.

Throughout this chapter there are references to many gods. There is a god of winter, Nature who grants rest by her intervention (notice the capitalization), the humbling powers of ice and gravity. Each of these are personal, a god, a personal ‘granter’, a humbler so they are more than just creative writing. Young attributes personal characteristics to things that never possess them. When Young does this we can see how Mack must see the world – controlled by these personal forces which are outside the control of God.

To be fair, Mack is in a desperate time after a great tragedy. His world seems to wallow in a mass of melancholy. And who of us has not been there? But this does not excuse Mack or ourselves. Poor understanding of and poor trust in God and His ways, whether by ignorance or neglect, is still sin.

In light of this chapter we can learn one of the most important lessons of application. The application is to practice/meditate on the goodness and sovereignty of God in all things, at all times, to all God’s elect. If we daily practice our faith in our Good God who is in control of all things (Romans 8:28, Ephesians 1:11) then when tragedy strikes we will have a solid and practiced faith that God is doing good. When we fall on the ice and we split out heads open, what will we do? We will practice – we will acknowledge that God is good, that He is doing good by ordaining our fall and our bleeding; we will pray to God that we would learn what He is teaching, thank God for His Son Jesus Christ who saved us from eternal suffering, pray for humility to receive His discipline with thankfulness, and all such like things. And when real tragedy comes we will do that same, as God has taught us.