Sunday, March 16, 2008

Reliving the Horror

I was up late last night, after the kids had gone to bed, and was listening to the news in Spanish as my teacher requires us to listen to at least an hour a day. I stumbled upon a documentary about World War II and Hitler's Final Solution, and what happened to the men who were responsible for the extermination of between 5-6 million Jews, and other ethnic groups deemed "unfit" according to Hitler's Aryan master race theory. I wasn't prepared for all graphic images and film clips--of course, I have seen them before--but for some reason last night I put myself in the shoes of these poor humans--thinking, what if that had been me? I won't even describe the images--but the one that really stood out in my mind was that of a little boy at the death camp, his mother standing in one line, and him being separated from his mother--perhaps 100 ft. away--and he bolted out of line, running to his mother's side, only to be pushed back away from his mother. He tried once again, this time only to be shot ruthlessly in the head.

It tore me up inside. What if that had been my five year old daughter, running in fear to reach my comforting arms, and then having to watch my child be shot in the head? I also watched as they used a small child for medical tests, throwing it back and forth, bending the head back as far as it could go, as if the child was some type of rubber toy they were testing to see how far they could bend it before it would break.

The images flashed through my mind as I tried to go to sleep last night--but God wouldn't let me sleep. All I could do was weep, and pray. I asked Him a lot of questions as I was praying. Could this happen again? I wondered. It has happened, I remembered, in other parts of the world. Why didn't our government do something sooner? Where were all the Christians and what were they doing about it? But I can't blame them--don't we all tend to push those horrible atrocities out of our mind?
After the Jews were hoarded into the gas chambers, sometimes up to 3000 at a time, their corpses were cremated in large ovens built for the purpose. At times, the victims weren't fully dead before they were thrown into the fire. The workers at the camp described hearing hellish screams coming from the chambers and ovens.

This is a picture of the closest thing you can get to hell on earth--and yet spiritually speaking, millions of people are dying without knowing the true God, and accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. They will face an eternity in hell. I have to ask myself, does this bother me? Do I even think about it, or like the holocaust images, do I try to push it out of my mind and think about something a little more pleasant? When I think about it too much, it makes me depressed because I know that people have become so caught up in the things of the world that they don't take time to think about eternity. They are just plain indifferent. As long as we are comfortable. Hitler's rise to power was partially due to the fact that his regime took credit for solving Germany's economic woes. Most people are happy with a leader if they promise them economic prosperity.

I thought about what our life is like today. I have never lived through a real depression or a World War. We haven't had to scrape the trash can to find food. Human suffering seems far away when we see it on the nightly news--it almost doesn't phase us anymore, unless, a soldier we know or a loved one is killed--then it becomes very real to us. The worst catastrophe I have lived through was watching in horror as the World Trade Centers collapsed before my eyes, and the aftermath that followed. I remember being depressed for at least a month afterward--and most Americans felt the same shock. Everywhere we went, that was all people were talking about. But life soon returned to normal for most of us.

Seeing programs like this one about the Holocaust helps me put things into perspective. What are those trivial things I am worrying about? What kind of values am I passing on to my children? Is life more than playing sports, new toys, and having fun? What if we had to go through a difficult time like that? Would I draw closer to the Lord as a result, or farther away? I can't even imagine the thought because our life seems so much easier compared to the hardships and suffering of so many people in world today. It made me think about what the Lord wants us to do with our time here on earth, and how much this world needs the gospel of Jesus Christ.


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