Don’t You Know Anything?

About six weeks ago, I read the most haunting book about the Nazi regime. Since then (which is ironically the name of the book ~ Then), the catchphrase of one young character has lingered in my mind: “Don’t you know anything?”

Sort of random, but a well-written book will do that to you. Anyway, the phrase resurfaced as I read through the book of Isaiah and found words of a similar kind:

“Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.” (Isaiah 40:28)

“Don’t you know anything?” Isaiah seems to be asking. And I could feel guilty, but I don’t. Instead, I’m merely thankful for the reminder. This verse started a whole list of questions in my mind.

Do you not know… that God is bigger than any problem you may face?

Have you not heard… that the Lord is mighty to save?

Do you not know… that God is in control of both the big and little things?

Have you not heard… that He’s going to win in the end?

Do you not know… that God loves you with everything He is?

Have you not heard… the song of love He sings over you?

Do you not know… that He’s waiting with arms wide open?

Have you not heard… how He desperately calls your name?

Do you not know? Have you not heard? Don’t you know anything?

I realize how little I do know. More importantly, I realize that it’s okay to not know everything… just as long as I know that I can trust God with the things I don’t understand.

Then There Was Hope

The moment I picked it up off the shelf, I knew that Morris Gleitzman’s Then was going to be a hard read. The book is the fictional story of a ten-year-old Jewish boy living in Poland during the Nazi regime. In a matter of hours, I laughed and cried my way through Felix’s story, and by the end of the book, I was as indignant as its youngest character.  “Bad things aren’t supposed to happen to six-year-old girls,” I found myself screaming at the author. “Don’t you know anything?”

But even as I mentally repeated little Zelda’s catchphrase, my heart clenched because I knew… I knew that Morris Gleitzman knows something most of us live in denial of. Bad things do happen to six-year-old girls. They happen everyday. Then is a beautiful read because it details the darkness of our world without forgetting the hope that walks us through it.

This is a timeless message because, although the Holocaust is over, there are a lot of people who live in fear and bitterness… without hope.

My favorite scene in Then is when little Zelda listens to the story of a little boy who has witnessed the most horrible of massacres. Zelda’s parents were Nazis, but they died and Zelda got mixed up with the Jews. She hates Nazis. She hates her parents. But as this young boy sits weeping before her, Zelda gets out her pencil and draws a picture of a man and woman with their arms around a child. “This is my mummy and daddy,” she says. “They’re Nazis. They’re saying sorry.”

I think all of us could afford to be a little more like Zelda. We should all learn to release our bitterness for the betterment of someone else. We should look for the ones who are hurting and do whatever we can to help ease the pain. To help restore hope. Sometimes it’s the smallest gestures that make the biggest difference.

Don’t you know anything?