Last Sunday still haunts me. It was a sobering reminder of the reality beyond our cotton candy world of celebrity obsession and escapism. My husband and I visited the Museum of Man’s display of Instruments of Torture.
Coincidentally, yesterday Israel Los Angeles (@IsraelLA) tweeted this: “On the evening of #Holocaust Remembrance day, 6 Survivors light a torch in memory of 6 million Jews. Read their stories http://dld.bz/cvQPq” The link goes to an article which has photos of the six survivors of the Holocaust accompanied by video testimony, too. Torture has a long and gory history.
My husband and I lost some of the gaiety of being on vacation and celebrating ten-years of marriage when we began our walk through the display. A lot of instruments of torture were accompanied by illustrations and a short history lesson. Some of these instruments are still used today. One in particular continues to make me shudder.
The skull crusher (pictured above) had a chin rest at the display. The chin and head are positioned inside and the cap is screwed down until first your jaw and teeth break, then, like a water balloon, everything inside your skull squirts out from the pressure. This particular brand of torture is used today in other countries, but with one small change. They now pad the chin area so the torture device leaves no mark. Others, like the guillotine and the sword also caused me to wince.
According to historical reports, when a person’s head is cut off, they are alive and aware for a few seconds. This happens when a sword cuts off the head, too. Nobles and the wealthy could afford a seasoned swordsman to cut off their heads, but peasants were often given to the apprentices who hacked off shoulders and skulls before getting to the neck. Because some of the instruments on display are still used today, I had to wonder if any Christians in the world suffered this kind of torture. Ironically, we saw the Museum of Man’s Instruments of Torture on Easter Sunday.
Interestingly enough, the crucifix wasn’t on display or mentioned. However, the darker side of human nature reminded me of Steve Reed’s comment how many Christians in our country are unprepared for suffering. Others in hostile countries are better prepared than America. I pray we never as Christians have to endure the torture seen on display at the Museum of Man or ever experience what the Jewish people endured in the Holocaust.
In our cotton candy world, we watch baseball, play on the internet, read leisurely on our favorite chairs, or enjoy a coffee someplace with friends beneath the freedom of the American flag. While comfort and freedom make enduring tough times more difficult, I would not as a human being pray for the kind of suffering our Christian brothers and sisters endure in other parts of the world. If suffering does come, I pray my faith is strong enough to withstand the kind of devices on display at the Museum of Man.
What stories of suffering have encouraged you in your tough times?