Cover art of _Night_ by Elie Wiesel (1982 edition)
“Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever.”
—Elie Wiesel, from Night

While we were in Reynosa, at night I read…Night, Elie Wiesel’s harrowing memoir of life and death in Nazi concentration camps. (Why Night? It’s required summer reading for Isaac, and it had been 32 years since I read it in college.

Sitting around the mission courtyard after the day’s work, I asked: What do we as people of faith make of this slim volume filled with intolerable images of darkness and evil? And if it is even allowed for a comfortable North American to ask, what made the difference between the response to that evil of Wiesel, and that of another concentration camp intern, Corrie ten Boom? Wiesel, until then a devout Jew, ceased to believe in God in Auschwitz, but ten Boom emerged from Ravensbrück still believing. Why?

For that matter, in Scripture itself, what changed Job’s anguished demand that God give an account of himself (chapters 26–31) into humbled silence before God in chapter 42? Not the arguments of his three friends, not even the theological correctness of Elihu (chs. 32–37), but only the presence of God himself.

And God has come near to us in Christ.

(A big thanks to Ryan, Richard, and Liz for talking through this! Theology is a team sport.)


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