At first, I seemed a little annoyed by this class. A bunch of Christian college students, talking about evil and tough issues, all while sitting around, leading mainly comfortable lives. But after our discussion tonight, I see that this class was meant for more than that, this class was meant to engage us with multiple senses, becoming a part of it, tasting the suffering. I thought it was selfish to just sit and talk, while outside the world is broken and hurting. However, I am seeing that this class will influence me more than I imagined. It has challenged my worldview, prodded by thoughts and beliefs, and forced me to ask tough questions—questions that more often than not are left unanswered.
Today we went to Dachau. The emotions as I entered the gas chambers were overwhelming. I cried, but that was not enough. My emotions were not enough to cover how I was feeling nor how the prisoners must have felt. I am almost just lost for words. But sometimes words are the only thing I have, so I must attempt to use them to the best of my ability.
There was a monument outside the gas chambers for all the liberated people, who are too many to know their names, but not nearly enough for the amount of people that were lost and killed. I overheard the tour guide talking (we only took the tour where you have a thing to listen to through headphone things). He mentioned how the people that survived didn’t know what they were going home to. They received their name back, but they didn’t even know who their own self was. It made me think: who are you to be after all of your humanity has been striped from you? What do you have left when you have nothing left?
But I know there was hope in some of them. I don’t know how. I don’t know how I would react, I don’t know what I would do or say. But I do know that I would have struggled with being mad at God. I was struggling with my anger toward God while walking back from the gas chambers. I want to ask God why He let that happen. I know He didn’t do this, and I know that he didn’t want it to happen to his people, his children, his beloved. I know God doesn’t scoop people up when they are hurting, because then we wouldn’t be here. None of us. Yet we can’t ignore that this happened. We are left with questions, and without answers. That seems to be a theme lately.
What can we do when we are just angry at God? How can we be a faithful witness when we struggle with anger toward God? How do we live in the tension of a God who gives and takes away?
How do we praise a God when we hold bitterness toward him? I don’t know if we can. I don’t know how to live in the balance, in the muddle of the tension. I know this: God is good, God is present in suffering, and we can have hope because of Christ’s work on the cross.
I am left with a lot of pain, hurt, and confusion. Though I know nothing I think or feel is nearly intense enough to do justice for the injustice that took place.
We are on the train now, heading back. Heading back to a comfortable bed, not sure where our next meal will come from, but not having to worry about whether or not we will have food to eat. I know there will continue to be difficulties, and there will continue to be suffering. Even the Bible says that we will always have the widows and orphans with us, so what we do? How must be compelled to act in the face of injustice? I don’t have the answers, but I know that we can love because Christ loved us. Christ loves us in the hurt.