It's impossible to comprehend God, especially not directly. The best way is through metaphor and story. It is when God meets us as a whole person. Our parents impact our theology. Our theology then re-parents us. Our soul is broken. It is where we hide all of our secrets and we never want to invite another human being in. We are afraid they are going to rate us the way we do rate ourselves.
A story, everybody has one, everybody is a story, and every story matters. Until we come face to face with God you will not begin to heal. The unconfessed is the unhealed. We will hide behind ministry, we will hide behind anything, or ourselves. We have to learn to talk about our sadness. We are designed to be in a community, we were never designed to be alone. We need to go back into our histories and talk about our great sadness.
Most of our parents are dysfunctional by their deep hurts and histories. Jesus is the only one that can save us. "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). Here, He was talking about the generations in our lives that mold us to what we become.
In the book of Genesis, because of our own self-hatred, we think God relates to us the same way we relate to ourselves. Even in scripture it comes across to us as if God is speaking to us punitively and reputedly, rather than lovingly because God is love, God is not punishment or retribution, God is love.
In Genesis, Adam and Isha (because her name has not been truly revealed yet), now they have participation in an act of turning away from being face to face with God, because they have eaten from the forbidden fruit, and they hide inside the very tree (in the original Hebrew it does not say they hid in the bushes, it says they hid in the tree). They were covering themselves with their ability to determine goodness and evil and so they made themselves the arbitrators of truth independently. And they hear the sound of God walking in the cool of the day ( in the English version) and the first thing they hear is "where are you? tell me where you are?" God knows where they are. This is an invitation to RELATIONSHIP. Adam replies "I'm afraid, I heard you." Already Adam has begun to project upon the face of God this punitive, ratributive, mean self-absorbed narcissistic imagination. "I was afraid and ashamed because we were naked" then God says "who told you-you were naked?" A lot of times we read that line of scripture with our modern, self, self-disgust or apprehension of our mentality, our humanity, our sexuality, a face of that there is something wrong that God is saying about the fact that they were unclothed. That is not the point at all! God is saying "who told you-you were naked? I did. You were meant to be living exposed and open and weak and fragile, you're covering yourself up by your own ability to determine what the truth is, what the good is, what the evil is, who told you? I told you being exposed is a good thing."
The Holy Spirit comes to convict (the word in the Greek means "expose"). We were never designed to live hidden and inside lies and inside of our self-deception. We were intended to live fully open face to face with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This relationship that we can trust with all the things that we hide all the secrets that we have, we were designed to live naked and unashamed. You may be sexually abused, or come from a family who abused you. There is nothing that dismantles or destroys the SOUL of a human being like sexual abuse or any abuse. You shut down, you have the need to perform, you have the need to be acceptable. You become a predator as a child. You can trust the heart of a child with great sadness. Sexual abuse or any abuse (especially sexual) will turn you into a performer. This is why religion is attractive to most. Why? Because if I can give you a list of rules, and you can just follow these rules and do these things, then maybe you can earn the affection of those who rejected you. Maybe you can win the rejection of God.
So, you hate yourself, you hate the shack that you live in. So you draw up some pieces of wood from your own shack and build a fasaud about 100 yards out. A fasaud is your life, the lie you live in. You can paint several different pictures but it doesn't protect you from the addictions, they still go on, they do not protect you from the secrets. Your fasaud is your presentation to the world, and you are a different thing depending what audience is in front of you.
We don't know how to live life from the inside out. Life becomes on how to live from the outside in and we work hard at it. We have this thin layer of perfectionist performance that covers up this ocean of shame, and we hope that we can just do this right if we can just perform perfectly. Asking ourselves "maybe one day I can become a real boy or girl."
We are as sick as the secrets we keep and our shacks are full of them. So when someone comes into our lives and offers us kindness, goodness, forgiveness, and grace, we don't believe them because they don't know our secrets. So we are absolutely trapped. We can't tell you because you're going to think "I am exactly what I already believe, a worthless piece of nothingness. But when you offer me something that might keep me alive, I don't believe you because you don't know my secrets." This is the shack, this is the fasaud, and the thing about healing is that you have to go back to the shack. You have to find out that God is in that place and not in a fasaud.
We are as sick as the secrets we keep. We have to deal with our broken hearts if we want to become real human beings. You can't go around the shack you have to GO INTO IT. You have to go DEEP. The dive may cost you deeply.
Life is a journey, life is a process. You may think this could never be possible for you because you become comfortable in your own skin. Our lives are all messed up and complicated when we are trying to be somebody else. When we have all the secrets buried inside when we are all hidden when darkness and the lies are inside and kept inside the imprisonment of our own hearts. They are huge when we let them out, they lose their power. The process of that? Incredibly painful at times and there are huge risks involved, but there are always going to be risks involved in trust. Trust is where we are headed, not to control, not to religion, but to RELATIONSHIP. This is a God, that will always be with you, will never leave you, and will never forsake you.
We will always feel lost, but Jesus is saying "I know, but I am here and I am not lost." How powerful are the secrets in your life and who have you let in? Do you think keeping your secrets is safer than letting them out? Think about the power of secrets in your life.
William Paul Young - "The Shack"Read more at: www.refreshinghope.org