The Loudmouth Protestant

August 13, 2008

Lesson #2 from “The Shack”: Real Relationship is Waiting

This is my continuation of “Lessons from ‘The Shack’

(Spoiler Alert: Look away now if you haven’t gotten to the part of the book where Mack goes to back to the shack. )

When Mack meets the Trinity, he is dumbfounded at how they treat him. They each welcome him with open arms starting with ‘Papa’ (God). God is so welcoming, so loving, so doting upon Mack that he just can’t believe she is real. To top it off, the Trinity relates to each other with such love and gentleness. All of this is throwing Mack for a loop, and so, for his first few hours there he can’t stop asking questions that tell of his ignorance to the all-encompassing love of God. It’s unfathomable to him that God, regardless of how many times he comes at her with question that smack of anger and frustration, is still loving, kind, patient and merciful.

In my reading of this portion of Mack’s experience, I just couldn’t help but smile at the description of ‘Papa.” She’s a big black woman whose voice—I imagine—is soothing and she is as sweet as honeydew. She is ever so patient with Mack and willing to answer every question. She is inviting and hospitable. And she is patient. She is patient. She is patient. I can’t say it enough because that is the one part of her being that I love the most. That is what I love about God—I can name many things but I am human and the one thing I have very little of is patience, but God has it all.

‘Papa’ waited for Mack to come to the shack and experience the fullness of her love. And in just the same way God waits for us to come in and visit Him. And not just in the obligatory sense, but in the “I really want to be here with you, right now,” kind of way. He wants us to pull up a seat and just bask in His love. You know the same way we wait to get home to a loved one so that we can rest in that warm embrace and stare into those beautiful eyes. God is waiting for us to enjoy doing that with Him. God is waiting for us to open our hearts to Him as we would any man or woman we are in relationship with. It kills me—personally—that it’s easy for me to open my heart to human beings yet so hard for me to open it fully to God, considering it’s much more likely for my heart to be broken by people on this earth than it is for God to break my heart.

But the relationship that God offers us is real if we would only believe. If we step away from preconceived notions of who we think He is and how we think He works and just rest in knowing that He is God and God all by Himself, we could experience a deep shift in our lives. Once we step away from the empty busyness—and business—of our lives, we might stand to really be filled with the greatest love of our lives. I learned this week that the only thing we truly have time for is that which God has called us to do. And piggybacking off of that statement, I’d surmise that we only really have time for God.

As a single woman, I know it’s a scriptural mandate to make God my primary concern because when I get married I will have to divide my time between being a Proverbs 31 wife and a servant of God. But for now I must be a Proverbs 31 woman utterly in love with God and utterly caught up with pleasing Him. It’s the only real relationship I can have right now. The only one that will never leave me disappointed. The only one that won’t build me up, just to let me down. The only one that will be consistently unconditional. The only one that will matter at the end of the day. And it will only be as real as I—we—make it.

More to come…

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1 Comment »

  1. This chapter really made something click inside of me. As much as I hate to admit it… I tend to seperate God from Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Jesus being the nice, caring, loving one of the Trinity. When I’m hurt I question God. He seems so unfair and unjust at times. I never blame Jesus or the Holy Spirit. But they are the same. This chapter made me see them as One yet so highly relational. I loved “Papa” here. I experienced so much emotion from “Papa” explaining why she was appearing to Mack in her form. I realized that I have trouble trusting God when I’m hurting because of my preconceived ideas of Him. I’m so grateful He is exactly who I need Him to be in every moment. I forget His omnipotence. My human mind is so feeble.

    Comment by andrealoper — August 15, 2008 @ 10:21 pm | Reply


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