I watched ‘The Shack’ yesterday, and felt moved to the very core. It was inspiring, impacting, and life-changing. If you haven’t already seen it, you should definitely go see it, and make sure you bring a box of tissues too! (I definitely shed some tears of my own)
I won’t go into the story line, because the trailer is self explanatory and I don’t want to give it away, but the main themes are faith, forgiveness, letting go of pain and moving on from our past. As I watched it I realised how much negativity I have held onto. That bitterness, hurt, and pain that seems to take over, and leave no room for healing or restoration. Have you ever experienced the same thing before? It can be hard to let go of isn’t it? But in order to be free and to love wholeheartedly the way God wants us to, we must give that hurt to God so He can fix us.
The movie does a perfect job of explaining that bad things happen in the world because while there is another will – an evil one, there will always be chaos, tragedy and pain. But while there is evil, there is also good. God works all things for good in the end, and while it cannot change the events of the past, it can release you from being stuck there and give you a better, brighter future.
While watching that movie, God challenged me to continue giving him all my hurts, so I would not carry it anymore. ‘It’s not my burden anymore’, He says. ‘You are a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come. Your pain may have shaped you into who you are now, but take the lesson, learn from it, and don’t keep digging up that pain’.
In the movie, the father returns to ‘The Shack’, a place that was the setting of a terrible tragedy that occurred, one where he felt he kept coming back to. Every time his mind took him back to that place, the pain kept growing in that wound left open in his heart. He wasn’t able to truly live, or love properly, he was hurting, angry and disappointed in God. He argued that God did not love His children, and could not stop that terrible event from happening. Many times we blame God, too. We become our own judges and we become so blinded by our own hurt that we can’t see God’s goodness in the midst of our suffering.
But it says in the Bible ‘ For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations’ Psalm 100:5. When Jesus died on the cross, Satan thought that this was the end of good in the world. The battle had been won, and now He could rule. But God had other arrangements, He saw the bigger picture. In Genesis 50:20, it says ‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.’
Just because something terrible happens in your life, doesn’t mean it was God’s doing, and it doesn’t mean that there is no hope afterwards either. God is always working for our good, and in every evil event, there is always goodness working behind the scenes. ‘The Shack’ in the movie is depicted as a lonely, dark, timber looking cabin in a wild forest. To the main protagonist, it is the literal setting of the tragedy but it also metaphorically represents what happens to him when he lets his pain take over. He becomes withdrawn, depressed, and filled with hopelessness. But eventually the goodness shines through the cracks in the walls, and God’s healing begins to work in him. He is not shut away, bottling in his pain, coming back to that place over and over again. He is free.
We each have our own kind of ‘shack’, that dark place inside each of us where we try to hold onto our pain. We revisit past memories, emotions, words spoken over us, faces of people that have hurt us. We store all of this up inside of us, and carry it around everyday. We tell ourselves that our pain defines us, those people that let us down, determine our worth, or lack of. But none of it defines us, only God can, and His definition tells us:
‘I am the Creator and you are my creation. I breathed into your nostrils the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). I created you in my own image (Genesis 1:27). My eyes saw your unformed substance (Psalm 139:16). I knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). I know the number of hairs on your head, and before a word is on your tongue I know it (Matthew 10:30; Psalm 139:4). You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
You are more valuable than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31). I have given you dominion over all sheep and oxen and all beasts of the field and birds of the heavens and fish of the sea (Psalm 8:6–8; Genesis 1:26, 28). I have crowned you with glory and honour as the pinnacle and final act of the six days of creation (Psalm 8:5; Genesis 1:26).
Pretty great right? So whatever pain and hurt you are storing away, or blame you are holding for God, start trying to release it day by day and eventually it will fade, and peace will take it’s place. Satan wants us to be slaves to our sin, but God says ‘In my eyes, you are a brand new creation. The old has passed away; the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). Sin is no longer your master, for you died to sin and are now alive to me (Romans 6:11; Ephesians 2:4–5).