I texted Brad, “I’m two-and-a-half blocks away.” He says, “We’ll have food ready for you. You can just walk down the waterfront and we’ll meet you, just to be with you, to have ten minutes.” [What Brad didn’t know] was that I had previously shared all of this email correspondence with Stuart, Gil and Lani and had asked them, “Would there be any possibility that the four of them could come to the set?” Not only did they say, “Yes!,” they enthusiastically said, “Absolutely!”

One of the reasons they had me come back to the set this time was because they built the whole shack right there in that location. When we arrived, they had five chairs waiting for us, complete with headphones so that we could watch [and clearly hear] the shooting. I didn’t even know what scenes they were going to be shooting that day. Turns out, it was the scene in the movie where Mackenzie, with Papa awaiting with a prepared breakfast for him, comes out of his room in a fury because he had nightmares all night long about Kate. At one point in the conversation, Papa turns to him and she says, “Mackenzie, the fundamental flaw in your thinking is that you don’t believe that I am good, and until you believe that I am good, you’re never going to be able to trust Me.” And he looks at her and he says, “Why would I ever trust you? My daughter is dead.”

I look over, and everybody is stunned. We watch it again, and then by the third time, tears are flowing…and then we watch them film it fifteen times. The whole day was like that. Octavia [Spencer], Sam Worthington, and Aviv Alush, the Jewish actor from Tel Aviv who plays Jesus, and Sumire were there. They wrapped up my friends with an embrace on the set. That day broke loose a healing in them that has absolutely stayed. They have now become very good friends, but it was the event that got them unstuck, and it happened on the set.

Octavia Spencer, Sam Worthington, The Shack, CCM Magazine - image

L-R: Octavia Spencer (“Papa”) & Sam Worthington (“Mackenzie”)

I look at this and think, “How is this even possible? Except that there is a God who is good and involved in the details of our lives— all of the time.” The timing of this, that I would have the nudge to contact Brad, that he would even be in the country, that he’s at Cultus Lake and going for a walk with Dwight and run into the film set. Then, they get invited, and this is what they happen to be shooting. Timing is the sandbox of the Holy Spirit. That’s one of the events that happened on the set.

The first day on set, the kids that played Kate and Josh brought their own copies of The Shack because they had read the book and loved it. I got into some really good conversation with Tim McGraw, because he and I both have “daddy issues,” so we connected on that. He was so kind, so gracious, and so present. [At the time of filming] Sam Worthington had a 10 week-old, his first baby, Rocket Worthington! It changed him and since then, I don’t know if you’ve heard any of his interviews, but he so identified with Mackenzie’s journey spiritually, and it’s had a huge impact on him.


3 Responses

  1. Jo Tell

    I have not read the book, nor will I, and I most certainly will not watch a movie based on this man’s imagination. Hank Hannegraff summed it up perfectly.

  2. JustJim

    We all like to live in a diorama picturing God and our personal spiritual beliefs as we have been taught and what we have chosen to learn through our life’s experiences! This book and movie will challenge an individual to open their minds eye and theoretically examine the possibility of God as portrayed thru the experience portrayed in Mackenzie’s life! I am closer to Our Heavenly Father because of it! Movie is very well cast and portrayed!

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