I can’t take my eyes off the news. I’m constantly refreshing Twitter, which is my main source of information, for updates about what is happening in Ukraine. I think this is the most captivating event that has happened during my lifetime, and it holds the potential to be a major turning point for the world as we know it. It is as intriguing as it is frightening, not to mention heartbreaking.
I don’t understand this war. I guess the better statement is that I don’t understand what Russia is doing. I get why Ukraine is fighting— they’re legitimately fighting for their lives. I read multiple stories from reputable reporters explaining to me why Russia has invaded Ukraine, but it still doesn’t make sense to me. It is irrational and immoral. I’m not a fan of war, not that many are, but I can usually wrap my mind around why it is happening. Not this one; this one is senseless.
I have never been to war, and it is highly unlikely that I will ever go. I have narcolepsy, so I am disqualified for service. I don’t know what it is like to be a soldier. My father-in-law served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom, and he has shared a few stories with me. I’ve read stories, taken a couple history classes in college that focused on wars, and have seen documentaries. Nothing about being in a war seems good or pleasant. Being a soldier is a guarantee that you will see and experience things that the average person cannot imagine.
Unfortunately for the average people in Ukraine, they cannot escape the horrors of war. It has come to them, though they did nothing to deserve it. Civilians are being killed because one man decided to invade a country. Kids are dying. The citizens of Ukraine are waking up each day with the real possibility that it may be their last. I know that is true of everyone, but it is all but guaranteed that a missile is not going to come crashing into my house today. That guarantee doesn’t exist for any of the Ukrainians on this day.
Though the fighting is happening 5,000 miles from me, I can’t help but think of all the innocent bystanders that are under attack. These people are not news stories or statistics. They are moms and dads, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, and co-workers. They are real people who are loved and love others. Their only crime was to live freely in the country that they were born in and love.
One of Jesus’ statements keeps circling in my head: “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come” (Matthew 24:6). I read that and say, “Ok, I got it.” But I really don’t get it. I know that he is speaking of end-time stuff there, and I am not going to take what is happening in the world as a chance to espouse my eschatological (fancy word for end times) views. This is not the time or the place. I just don’t know how I can’t be alarmed, even though I know there is basically nothing that I can do about the situation.
The good news is that the Ukrainians are rising to the occasion and giving it their all. They are a modern-day David vs. Goliath story. The world is on their side. You rarely get a black and white, good guys vs. bad guys scenario, but that seems to be the case here.
Even still, everyone loses in war. If the Ukrainians manage to win (that’s my hope and prayer), the echoes of this invasion will reverberate in their country for years. They will need to rebuild what was destroyed. However, they will never gain back the lives that were lost. There will be wounds, emotional and physical, that will never heal. I would also be remised to not mention the Russian soldiers. I don’t know for sure, but I imagine that many of them don’t want to be fighting this war either. There is and will be pain on both sides for a long time.
In all of this, God is still God. He is still good and in control, even if we can’t wrap our minds around all of it. I don’t know how this will end, but he does. I think that our prayer needs to be that it does end soon and peaceably. Prayer is the weapon that those of us that are hundreds and thousands of miles away from the carnage need to be wielding. We need to implore that our all-powerful God brings this war to a close. 2 Corinthians 1:3 calls God, “The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” We need to pray that is who he is to all that are hurting because of the chaos. There may be a time when we can be the hands and feet of God and can serve in a different way; but as for now, we need to be a people of prayer. Pray for Ukraine, pray for peace, and pray for healing on both sides. There is power in prayer. I think that it’s time we unleash it.