[The Shack by William Young is a major bestseller and worthy of comment. This is the fourth of five quick looks at The Shack from my perspective.]
The Shack ends with Mack having a vision in which he sees his murdered daughter and his abusive father in Heaven. Right away I’m thinking, “Run, Missy, run! Grandpa is a child abuser!” But it seems that grandpa has repented his ways, and Mack asks his dad for forgiveness even as he forgives him himself.
This is troubling: was the abuse Mack’s father heaped on little Mack somehow Mack’s fault? Isn’t that what his dad told him after every abusive episode? Isn’t that what all abusers say, “You made me do it”? Maybe Mack is more troubled than we think. God suffers from Munchausen’s disorder and Mack suffers from Stockholm syndrome—The Shack is one sick hut.
What brings Mack some solace is his discovery that everything turns out all right in Heaven. He sees his daughter Missy playing happily in the fields of Heaven far beyond the garden of good and evil in which her rape and murder took place. This world is just a shack, God’s Mansion awaits. So don’t become overly concerned with justice in this world—certainly God doesn’t seem to care—and take heart that heaven is the reward for all those who repent.
This comforted Mack—his little girl spending eternity as a little girl. He isn’t bothered by the fact that she will never learn anything, never graduate high school or college, never meet someone and fall in love, never have children of her own. Well, I’m bothered by it!
First Missy is robbed of her life, and then God freezes her in perpetual childhood. Is that what Heaven is—forever frozen in the body you had when you died? Does that mean the crippled are eternally crippled? Does that mean SIDS victims spend eternity on their tummies in a cradle? Or is Mack’s vision of Missy and his dad just his own private reverie and heaven is a fiction? The Shack cannot accept the latter, but its view of Heaven seems hellish to me.
This is the problem with all attempts to make people feel better by feeding them mindless drivel. I can understand how Mack can be comforted for a moment to think that his daughter is still enjoying being eight, but how is he not raging at God for making eight last for eternity?
I have no problem with people who want life to be just and hopeful and, in the end, to spend eternity with God in some blissful paradise. What I find so troubling and even offensive is when they settle for so little. And Mack has settled big time. I think Mack is just afraid to vent his rage at God and so he takes refuge in nonsense. I don’t want a god who suffers along with the victims, I want a god who suffers because he/she causes suffering. I want god to repent. But god will never repent as long as Mack refuses to demand justice for Missy.