by Wm. Paul Young
The question “Does God really care about our lives on a daily basis?” is not a new one. Every generation seems to ask it. The debate between those who hold to the idea of a “clockwork God” who created the universe then wound it up and went off to let it run on its own, and those who believe in a personal God who cares about His creation and is involved on a daily basis, is as old as mankind itself.
For this generation, Paul Young (author of the multi-million seller The Shack) has certainly revived this debate and stirred up a few other controversies, too. But both The Shack and his newest fiction work Cross Roads lay what Young believes about one theological issue to rest — his obvious deep conviction that the Trinity is both true and an operating force in our personal lives today.
The Shack has been (unfairly, in my opinion) dissected and pulled apart by every critic determined to make a story he originally wrote — so that his children and grandchildren could be assured that the God of the universe was personal, knowable and trustworthy — into a theological treatise. It was, then, with anticipation that readers waited for a book that Young would write “on purpose” for a broad audience.
The newest release Cross Roads is the story of a self-centered businessman who seems to redefine egotistical and self-serving. Paranoid and ethically dysfunctional, he seals himself off from the “others” he fears, then cracks his head in a deserted parking garage and suffers a cerebral hemorrhage. Rather miraculously, he ends up in a hospital ICU where he encounters what, in his rational moments, he assumes to be projections of his own subconscious mind.
It is in this world (Is it real? Is it imaginary?) that he meets the cast of characters who begin to call out of him the qualities only a God-who-is-involved could see. As in The Shack, we get a sense of a Presence that not only sees the buried possibilities in us, but also loves them to the surface, then hangs in there with us until we can begin to live a new way.
Anthony Spencer (the main character) is a “hard nut to crack!” But, though he is in need of internal and external healing, he is given the power to heal — someone. How like God to trust us flawed creatures with the very gift we most ourselves need! Often what we need too is a mirror and someone we can trust to hold it up to us.