“I have no refuge; no one cares for my soul.”
My friend is a world class scholar in religious history and lectures in synagogues and temples as well as elsewhere on the Holocaust. For some years he had encouraged me to view the movie Schindler’s List.
I knew of its explicit footage of the atrocities committed against the Jewish people and so I resisted for some time. I accepted the fact that the Jews suffered horribly and thought my acknowledgement of the reality of their genocide was enough.
I finally gave in and watched the whole movie. It caused me to feel ill. It seemed impossible that such hatred could be found in the hearts of people against another ethnic group. Yet, for all the brutality and calculated horrors of the Holocaust, a larger scale and equally dreadful situation called the Holodomor occurred in parts of Russia.
There was a famine that was caused by the confiscation of the whole 1933 harvest by the Stalinist government. Estimates of the death toll varied greatly; anywhere from 1.8 to 12 million ethnic Ukrainians were said to have been killed as a result of the famine.
Recent research has placed the estimates to between 2.4and 7.5 million. It is regretable that this second Holocaust is almost unknown by people today. We do right to honour the millions murdered by the Nazi regime but we also must come to terms with the unrecognized human destruction in Russia.
There is an expression we use when remembering the war dead, “Lest we forget”. With the Russian atrocities we have never known or remembered. So how can we forget those we never heard about in the Hidden Holocaust?
The Psalmist in our verse for today laments the fact no one in this world saw or paid attention to his suffering. He was unknown and thus uncared for by the people around him, just like the Ukrainians of 1932-33 and the Jews of WWII. Yet the Psalmist cried out to the One he knew could see and hear him, “I cry to you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.’” (NIV). The fact that people in this life suffer greatly, even to death, is not to blind us to the other truth that God sees, God hears, and God ultimately acts to deliver His people.
For my readers who have the notion that they are unseen and unwanted in their hour of sorrow, you may come to the Creator of the universe and pour out your complaint. Find God’s promises in Scripture and bring them to Him in prayer. Call on Him to be faithful to His Word for those who are in pain.
The promise of Jesus is, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV). Who cares? God cares enough to send His son to die and rise again for us.