War. Russia. Ukraine. NATO. China. War planes over Taiwan. Missiles over UAE. Intercontinental ballistic missiles from North Korea. European military buildups. WWIII.
We read the headlines like these things are teasers from an upcoming movie. Like they are political shouting matches just to garner support for either your side or the other side … but not really headed anywhere. Like they are nothing but click bait to get you to a news or opinion website.
War. Russia. Ukraine. WWIII.
In many ways, this seems eerily familiar to about six years ago when exact same headlines were everywhere concerning the scenario surrounding Crimea.
I’m not a political scientist or international relations expert; but I do read the articles, listen to the news broadcasts, and mostly … know the Bible. We are a world in conflict. People are messed up. Wars will happen. Wars and rumors of wars will be more numerous as Jesus’ return gets closer. Should we fear? Should we respond? Stockpiling food, ammunition, end of world stuff. Should we ignore? See it as just saber rattling and political postering?
And in the little community of rural Virginia … these things are so far away, dealing with people and communities that have little to do with me, and are repeated headlines in national papers that few hear, read or care about.
So, I pondered the situation …
- Ukraine was for a couple centuries a part of Russia and it may be again. Many Ukrainians speak Russian. And though I desire an independent and free Ukraine, I’m under no illusion that Putin doesn’t want it back for political, economic and militaristic reasons.
- I realize no matter what’s going on, God is the One always in charge. That doesn’t mean rainbows and paradise on earth (yet), But it does mean He is in control and none of this is outside of His sovereign rule. Yet, we are not to just sit back and be uninvolved.
- Making God your stronghold doesn’t prevent attacks by our enemies. David writes in Psalm 27 … Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. Knowing He is in control and is our stronghold gives me grace and power to experience in the direst of circumstances.
- Next, these articles may talk of nations as the players, but it’s not the land that concerns me. It’s the people. The little dots on the map represents individuals. Thousands have died in recent conflicts. Millions have been displaced. And if war happens, it will be our young men and women who will feel the impact. Don’t just think of economic or border impact …or inconvenience due to shortages … or higher prices. This is about human lives … sons, mothers, families.
- So we should be praying for these people. Pray for peace. Pray God will redeem the violence and unrest to draw more people to Him.
- Many of these people in Eastern Europe are Christians. Most of Russia is part the Orthodox Church. But there’s a big difference between being on the rolls (90% of Russia) and being involved (10% attend). Claiming to follow the Prince of Peace is not the same as actually following Him. And though human political powers are at play, it is a spiritual warfare going on (Eph 6). Evangelicals have gone into hiding. Pentecostals of Ukraine and Russia have been labeled undesirable by the government. Don’t let the governments declarations of religious liberty fool you. Persecution and suppression is happening. The area of Donbas has experienced major religious persecution since 2014.
- This is spiritual warfare.
My big responses…
Trust. Keep trusting the one in charge (and I don’t mean the White House).
Serve. During this time, I will continue to serve God. Caring for people. Sharing the Good News. Building Disciples.
Pray. Pray for people. Pray for wisdom in our leaders. Pray with expectation that peace and salvations and great work of the Spirit can and will come to pass. Our prayers are powerful not because they are OUR prayers. They are powerful because of the ONE to whom we pray. As Jim Denison puts it …
So the next time you pray, whether it be for the Ukraine or some other issue, remember who you’re talking to and speak with the confidence that can only come from the knowledge that the one listening is able to accomplish things larger than you could ever imagine.Jim Denison