At age eight, Sam became totally paralyzed. A year later he emerged with brain damage, learning disabilities, complex emotional problems and severe behavioral problems. His family began to disintegrate under the strain. His mother committed suicide, and Sam was placed in a psychiatric hospital. In this horrible situation, what earthly difference can Jesus make?
In Dallas, Texas, one week prior to the assassination of President Kennedy, I heard German New Testament scholar Joachim Jeremias reminisce about his life in Israel, where his parents were missionaries. After WWII, he returned nervously to Israel to see if the treatment of Jews by the Nazi regime had severed forever his friendships there. When he knocked at the door of an old friend, he was welcomed with an embrace.
Lawrence Langer explains in Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory that written accounts of life in the Nazi concentration camps often seek to integrate the Holocaust experience into a larger structure of meaning.