What a breathtaking photo…such a look of joy on a face scarred by unspeakable horror.
This young woman named Yubelina nearly died for her Christian faith, left severely burned when Muslims attacked her village in Indonesia.
Voice of the Martyrs ministry featured her disfigured image on its January newsletter cover—and it has become a picture that has struck a chord with Christians worldwide.
Joy in suffering. Beauty in the ugliness of persecution.
An image and reminder we need on this week leading into Easter.
It’s so easy in our modern “feel good” culture to focus on Easter, jumping over the unpleasant description of Christ’s suffering for us on Good Friday so we can fast-forward to his triumphant resurrection celebration on Sunday.
Sadly, in our society Good Friday has become another shopping day for Easter baskets or dresses. Or just another day at work before a holiday weekend.
Long gone are the days I remember as a child going to hear my grandfather preach about the passion of Christ on Good Friday afternoon (which always seemed to be a dark, dreary day with a thunderstorm, as I recall).
We don’t want to dwell on the gory details of how our beloved Jesus was mocked, mauled and left in a mangled state of dislocated joints and skin as He hung dying on the cross. “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities…”(Isaiah 53:5) The prophet Isaiah also foretold that His “visage was marred more than any man.” (Isaiah 52:14) Would His face have looked worse than Yubelina’s?
Yes, we know in the abstract sense that Christ suffered for us. Likewise we know, abstractly, that Christians like Yubelina suffer in the world today for the Gospel.
But it’s not a place we like to stop and stare.
Certainly it’s not a place we necessarily want to take our children (those old enough, and mature enough, who could handle such discussions or images, that is).
My instinct as a mom?
Shield and protect them from seeing evil. But, shame on me, that should not be my action as a Frontline Mom, who wants to instill a biblical worldview in her children.
Suffering is real today, just as it was 2,000 or so years ago on a cross on Calvary.
Beautiful? Truly beautiful? Yes.
How could His suffering be beautiful?
Well, without His willingness to suffer punishment for all of our sins, a disfigured young lady like Yubelina would have no reason to smile—no joy or hope in her heart.
Yet the look she offers out of her one good eye says it all. She loves her Savior. And she bears witness with her scars—and smile—of how beauty lies in His sacrifice.
As I look at our sweet sister, I caught myself humming the hymn, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, as I wrote this message:
“See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?”
Sorrow and love flowed down our Savior’s body as His blood was poured out for your Salvation and mine.
Embrace that thought today…and share it with others. Let Yubelina’s smile inspire you to reflect the sacrificial love of our Lord tomorrow on (truly) Good Friday.
Image courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs
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