Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What I Found In The Box - Guest Blogger

Without fail, every single time we receive a package here from the States, it contains at least one completely unexpected but perfectly appropriate item. Normally what friends and relatives send has been requested and tremendously appreciated. Boxes have included peanut butter, Velveeta cheese, Kool-Aid and clothes. Simple things without a doubt, but secrets about which the Portuguese have no clue. For example, our girls often take Kool-Aid with their snack to school and have to tell their classmates that it is just, “the juice of America.” Such statements are glorious in their simplicity and perhaps more accurate than the average adult would admit, However, with upturned noses, our pedantic European friends often remain in the dark regarding some of America’s most precious treasures, including the freedom that comes with Christ’s forgiveness.

But the packages, oh, how timely are the packages - each one a conscious reminder of how our heavenly Father always knows best how to bless His children. He, as all great fathers do, cares for both our needs and wants. Many times the two, our need and wants, remain deftly interwoven and inseparable.

Our latest package came less than two weeks ago and a majority of the contents have already been ravaged, even with my feeble attempts to ration their Walmart-y goodness. The surprise of the box though was a book called “The Shack,” written recently by William P. Young. While I don’t normally read modern, living fiction writers, I try to read each book I receive as a gift. This was no different. I would try.

Dutifully, I began a novel about a man who spends one weekend by himself, in a shack with all three members of the Godhead. It’s fiction, OK? And, yes, he spends a weekend with God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Each appear in very surprising personifications, which I will not spoil for you, but for which you should be prepared seeing that they most likely will fly in the face of our American mindset.

Dutifully, I began, curiously I continued, and worshipfully I completed the book. My soul and spirit soared with each turning page, although troubled at times my heart ached and dared to process what my mind comprehended. I finished the book with a firm commitment to live each day striving to recognize God in everything that I do - as my Father and not some idea or delusion of my imagination. Everyday, I want to cultivate my relationship with the Lord, just as I would with my dad or my wife. That’s the essence of Christianity - a relationship with a living, caring God.

With a few statements I disagreed, but I have firmly decided not to play judge and jury with minor nuances and semantics. Want to know what I learned? Preconceptions are inevitable but never insurmountable. In turn, they are detrimental but should not be completely disastrous. The Lord gently reminded me that He doesn’t fit in my theological box, but He longs to be part of my life. From The Shack, I learned that He’s “especially fond of me,” and at the same time, that He’s especially fond of you too. Want to know what else I learned? I learned that what I found in the box, wasn’t what I thought was in there.

Written by Michael Andrzejewski for The LaGrange Daily News


Starla said...

Thanks for sharing. I've been wanting to read this blog. And after reading this it makes me want to read it even more.

Tabatha said...

I have only one comment to say to Bro. Michael.... You say God wants to be a part of our lives... I think it is more that He wants us to be a part of His life, there's more to it than that, but I am not sure my feeble brain can even attempt to explain "hind's feet on high places."

As for the book, definitely, for those who have yet to read it, I encourage you to do so. Bro. Michael summed it up very well and yet hardly touched the surface of the book. Now that your interest is piqued, get it and read it!

Tori said...

Wow, what a rave review that book got for the guest blogger. Sometimes I would like to read something different but good and this looks like a great example of such a book.
Thanks for the review!

The Webbs said...

I actually just finished this book and, I agree, it is a great read and definitely changes the way you go through life.

Anonymous said...

I started reading that book at mom and dad's house the other night. I'll have to dive into it now. You know I hate to read, but I'll give it a shot, especially if it's life changing! I love you guys and I'll talk to you later!

Anonymous said...

Michael, my friend Pam read the blog and then told me she has this book. I asked her to bring it to me so I can read it. My plan was to read it on the flight over there and while sitting in the airports, but I may have to get into it before then.
Love you Wanda

Jendi said...

I just came over through Anne's Blog - From My Perspective.

I haven't been to Portugal, but I know what you mean about sending things. My sister and her family ask for peanut butter, barbecue sauce, relish, Swiss Hot Chocolate, and more. They are also missionaries in PT.