I watched The Shack for the second time the other night. I knew that I needed to watch it again, but my parents borrowed the DVD. Fortunately, the movie is now available for streaming with a certain company.

Stoneways copy

Not ‘The Shack’ but a shack-type building closer to my home

A second viewing is not going to be enough. I need to watch this movie again and with a pen and notebook to hand. I don’t want to review the movie – this has already been done many times over. I don’t want to challenge the theology of The Shack – this has also been done. I just want to learn from it.

I found the depiction of the Trinity useful in helping my understanding of how God exists in three persons. It was interesting to see that God carried the same scars from the cross that Jesus did – ‘love always leaves a mark.’ But what challenged me the most was how Mac, the father who lost a child in the story, had his joy restored – and the difference it made to his life. I can’t imagine what it is like to lose a child in such an awful way, but I do know that it is easy for any of us to lose our joy for any number of reasons.

I have to be honest that over the last couple of years events in the church I belong to have caused me to lose my joy. I recall the excitement of previous years when Sunday arrived because I looked forward so much to worshipping with my church family. The fractures experienced within that family and the personal cost of being part of the leadership team through that time and beyond have stolen my joy, and I need to recover what has been taken away from me.

Joy is important. If our faces do not display the joy of our salvation and of our relationship with God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) then why would others want to know anything about that salvation and what it might mean for them? That’s a burden I am carrying these days. A burden to see communities changed because of those who serve God in a way that brings Him glory and is displayed on their faces. Surely the joy of knowing God is the best form of evangelism and one that could and should lead to revival in our villages, towns, cities and nations?

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. (Revelation 2: 1-4 NIV)