Meeting God at the Shack: A Journey Into Spiritual Recovery

Now available on Amazon.

Over the years I have reflected on William Young’s book The Shack in the light of my own personal journey into the world of spiritual recovery.  I found much in Young’s novel that paralleled my own experience.

Previously, I posted on some significant themes I found in the the book–both in terms of pastoral and theological assessment–but Leafwood has now published my brief book with short chapters on The Shack as a parable of spiritual recovery.

For those who have read my previous material on God, faith and suffering (such as Yet Will I Trust Him or Anchors for the Soul), this book is a continuation of my journey. I think it is more profound and more mature than my previous writings on the subject. It is, nevertheless, still ultimately inadequate as an “answer” to the struggle of life, faith and peace continues in human hearts, including my own. Nevertheless, God offers peace even when there are no “answer?

The first part of this book discusses spiritual recovery while the second part addresses some of the theological questions that concern many. But even in the second part I am much more interested in how this parable and the theological questions it raises offer an entrance into the substantial themes of divine love, forgiveness, healing and hope. These are the main concerns of the book.

I think the question the novel addresses is this:  How do wounded people come to believe that God really is “especially fond” of them?

Only after reading the book through this lens are we able to understand how Young uses some rather unconventional metaphors to deepen his point.

My interest is to unfold the story of recovery in The Shack as I experienced it through my own journey. So, I invite you to walk with me through the maze of grief, hurt, and pain as we, through experiencing Mackenzie’s shack, face our own “shacks.”

I offer the book with this dedication:

In the past eighteen months many have showered their love upon me….
my employment—Lipscomb University and Harding Graduate School
my counselors—I have learned much about myself through your help
my church—Woodmont Hills Family of God
my bible class—the Sonseekers of Woodmont Hills
my men’s groups—where I continue to learn and practice intimacy
my spiritual care team—God’s gift to Jennifer and myself
my small group—you are all such a joy to me
my brothers and sisters—Mack, Sue and Jack…and sis-in-law Melanie
my nieces and nephews—Allison, Brittney, Ian, Carson, Logan
my mom—you love me no matter what
my daughters—Ashley and Rachel, both faithful and loving
my wife, Jennifer, for whose steadfast love I am deeply
grateful and without whom I would not be able to
share my story in this book.

They have embraced me and through them God has loved me profoundly.
Thank you!

14 Responses to “Meeting God at the Shack: A Journey Into Spiritual Recovery”

  1.   rich constant Says:

    boy oh boy john mark
    i do love to read your words.

    Very Nice peace of work
    i have already encouraged two people to read this work of love…
    continued much big blessings

    •   John Mark Hicks Says:

      Read on, my friend. I wanted to keep you busy over the holidays. 🙂

      •   rich constant Says:

        guess you might be willing to write a little more???? 🙂
        although i am more than willing to read the e-book a few more times.


        happy holidays


      •   rich Says:

        john mark

        Sometime i would like to mess with this concept with you.
        ya know about the “Death”and the pain of Separation.from a subjective pov The suffering servant.
        Also objective pov the Father and the Spirit Living in a realm outside of a linear construct of time, and inside that concept the nuance of love that is shared for eternity (past) is broken for our redemption…
        question how long is hour to god the father and the spirit.
        while on a TREE the son says father why have you forsaken me….
        as we say at that moment time slowed down for us.Trauma…
        what MUST the cost of love have been.
        blessings John Mark

        “The Father dwells in the Son as he suffers and thus the Father suffers as well. In that sense, as Papa says, ”we were there together” (p. 96). The Father was in Christ reconciling the world to himself (2 Corinthians 5:19)”.pg.71

      •   rich constant Says:

        an after thought

        also the putting aside the pain and loss of that moment in the consummation through the healing of the father,s love(self forgetting and forgiving) for the joy of the redeemed creation separate and apart from the sting of death and the evil one and his representatives in this creation.

        the hope that is set before us .

        rom 8 1st. cor 15

  2.   Frank Says:

    What I’ve read so far I thought was really good. Several months ago, I knew I was supposed to read “The Shack” because of all its publicity. But I couldn’t make myself. Now I want to give it another try so I can compare it to what you’ve written.

  3.   Paula Harrington Says:

    You’re the reason I read The Shack in the first place. 🙂
    Looking forward to reading your e-book.

  4.   Jim Martin Says:

    John Mark, I’m so glad you have put your material on The Shack in the form of an e-book. This book has touched the hearts of so many people. Your reflections (I’ve read some but not all) will be so useful for all of us who are on this journey. Thanks.

  5.   Drew Chapados Says:

    John Mark,
    thank you so much for the sharing of this book.
    I was wondering–do you know of any resources that would be good for a group discussion on the shack or to go along with your book?

  6.   Terrell Lee Says:

    No doubt your e-book will help The Shack continue ministering in special ways. Thanks.

  7.   Clyde S. Says:

    Thanks for writing this and making it available here.

  8.   Matthew Says:

    Thank you for providing this resource. May the Lord continue to bless you on your journey.


  9.   John Mark Hicks Says:

    Now available on Kindle.


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