Not so long ago, I wrote a blog entitled “What is God’s Answer to Afghanistan?” It dealt with the global struggles that occur when broken humanity has freedom to govern themselves. That is an incredibly difficult truth to grapple with in the midst of troubling days, but it is foundational to the understanding of Christ-followers as they seek the flourishing of all humanity on this earth.
With reports of the bravery and determination of Ukrainian forces and civilians alike who have dealt more damage to the Russian army than any would have guessed, our hearts break for the lives lost in order to push back tyranny. We hear of citizens being attacked with bombings on apartment complexes and maternity hospital and the shock sends us reeling. There are videos of young men saying goodbye to their wives and girlfriends for what may be the last time while their president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, informs other world leaders in video communication that they may never see him alive again.
However, we also hear of young Russian soldiers who were told that the Ukrainian population would welcome them as they approached their territory. A voicemail of a young Russian conscript to his mother spoke of how terrifying war was because they were given the impression that the opposition would not be what it is. This young man who sent this voicemail to his mother is now confirmed dead in this war that he was not prepared to fight.
Where do we go from here? With another heart-wrenching turn of events on the world-stage, it is hard to know what to do and how to process the news.
We do know that, despite the freedom that humanity has to govern themselves, the good news is that God is sovereignly working behind the scenes and using our humanity (and its fallen results) to do His will. During a very difficult time in Israelite history, Isaiah 46:10 tells us that God was “declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My plan will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’” (NASB). God wants us, specifically as non-Israelites outside of the covenant that they then knew, to recognize that His plans will not withdraw humanity’s ability to freely govern themselves, despite the poor decisions that we make. But it also will not stop Him from accomplishing what is objectively good and righteous in redemptive history. He has been telling a story since the very beginning that will unravel until the final judgment and will transition us to His beautiful eternal home in His presence.
So we should spend time praying: for believers in Ukraine and Russia, for wisdom for world leaders, for victims across the board, for Russians across the globe who may wrongfully be held accountable for Vladimir Putin’s decisions, for grace and peace throughout this time, and against the schemes of the devil as he ravages untold numbers of those close to this situation.
We should instill within our hearts the knowledge that no human king can adequately push back against the corruption of mankind in general, or that of tyrannical leaders who care only for selfish gains.
Because of this and most of all, we should set our eyes not on the news, nor on the opinions of any of us with such a limited perspective on what occurs on this planet, but on the hope and promises of God. As I wrote in the blog post mentioned above in regards to Afghanistan, these global politics are, “to God, a darkness that points to His light. It is a moment in this material history in which spiritual truths shine through. It is a call for us, as believers, not to present empty human power as our hope, but to seek the only One whose fingerprints mark eternity.”
“Only Christ will wipe away every tear and make us all whole again. Only Christ will destroy broken man-made governmental systems of every kind. Only Christ will discontinue natural disasters. Only Christ will end persecution. Only Christ can save.”
“We are living in a time in which that truth can be on our lips when we speak with those we come in contact with. That is the most beautiful truth that we can share and it may even open their eyes to the beauty of the God of the universe.”
Love you all,
Young Adult Minister – Evan McNeff