Abuse has a face… Thoughts of domestic violence leave me praying for a neighbor I once had who found refuge in my home. With blood and tears streaming down her face, she pounded on my door and lived through the night only because she dared to seek refuge.
Cancer has a face… Painful images of my late husband flash through my mind any time I hear the word cancer.
Addiction has a face… Each time I think of addiction I am reminded of certain friends who struggled to break free. Some have overcome and some still fight.
These scenarios may be true for you as well. Maybe you have people who come to mind when you think of certain forms of trauma, hardships or suffering. Maybe those times move you with compassion or overwhelm you with sadness or fill you with a longing to see someone again.
Living in a world where sin, and the devastating long-term effects of sin, has caused death and struggle to be part of our existence, we are bound to have some painful experience tied to the memory of someone we love. Unfortunately, that is a sad reality we cannot escape.
But while it’s true that evil and trials have a face, it’s also true that hope has a face. And joy. And peace. And any good thing that God can work in our lives.
That face is Jesus.
And we, too, are called to be that face. Because we are called to be imitators of Christ (Eph. 5:1)we have the opportunity to live out Galatians 5:22-23 and demonstrate how “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…”
When we are seeking to be filled with the Holy Spirit, the natural result is to have these wonderful traits rising up within us, pouring out for all to see. And when that happens, we move from being the face of something negative to the face of something life-giving.
We cannot control what life brings, but we certainly can make every effort to be the face of Jesus to a lost and hurting world. We can be the face of hope, the face of joy.