Musings On Ukraine
I am well aware that the word musings seems quite inappropriate in discussing anything about the humanitarian crisis that we are watching unfold in real time every night on our big-screen televisions. The horror of entire cities being leveled, families being torn apart, maternity hospitals being hit with missiles and millions of refugees fleeing into neighboring countries is hard to digest. Then there is the prospect of nuclear tragedy either at Chernobyl or via the unleashing of nuclear weapons. The world has never been so near to WWIII since the Cuban missile crisis when I was all of 9 years old.
Still, I choose the word musings because these are thoughts in the moment that I am sharing with you. I don’t want to give them the weight of what I might ordinarily share from the pulpit or in other written missives that I share with you as your pastor.
First, a big shout-out to the congregation for your generosity shown this past Sunday in giving a spontaneous offering for Ukraine. We collected over $2500 to send to a missionary family there with whom we have connections. The Blessing family (appropriate name, don’t you think?) have been helping care for and shepherd families out of Ukraine and across the nearby border into Poland. These monies will help save a lot of people. We will continue to stay in touch with the Blessings as they carry on their vital work there on behalf of the Body of Christ.
Second, I have been encouraged by those of you who have been coming out to pray on Tuesday evenings for this humanitarian crisis. We will continue to meet to pray for Ukraine on Tuesdays at 7:00 PM in Room B-5 at least through the end of March. Now comes a musing . . . this situation feels different to me than any global crisis I have observed over my adult lifetime. I am not saying that I have heard anything directly from the Lord about this, but it feels like people of goodwill across the globe will have a significant say in the outcome of this crisis. This invasion has been, and is an absolute violation of all norms of international law and civil society. I know that the Lord is a God whose bias is toward the innocent, the least (widows and orphans) and the violated. When he sees others coming to the aid of those wronged—via our actions and our intercessions—he is moved. I am believing him to intervene in a significant way.
That leads me to my third thought. It is both an observation and a hope. It is quite possible that this conflict could escalate into a global (even nuclear) conflict. Russia has hinted at using its nuclear arsenal or bio-chemical weapons (as they did in Syria a few years ago). We have also seen the beginnings of a global axis of nations aligning with Russia, including Communist China and Iran. Steps have already been taken to launch an economic response by the United States against Russia and we might be seeing the beginnings of a response by China. No one knows where this could lead. The only thing we know for certain about unintended consequences of such actions are that we know they are inevitable. Scary stuff, to say the least. So on to my hope. My hope is that no US soldiers will be sent to this conflict—and that it will end soon. And my wilder hope is that something dramatic happens from within Russia that brings an end, not only to this war, but also to the dictatorial reign of Vladimir Putin. This is a God-sized hope. Will you join me in praying for this to come to pass?
Fourthly, like everyone, I am impressed with the raw courage and visionary force of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine. I pray for his ongoing safety and for God to give him wisdom as he rallies his nation to resist the evil of this invasion. This does not mean that I believe that US soldiers or NATO troops or jets should necessarily be sent into the conflict. (Remember these are my personal musings, perspectives and hopes. I am not preaching here.) And I also am praying for wisdom for President Biden and Secretary Blinken as they respond to this crisis. But, back to President Zelenskyy—it is quite exhilarating to see such courageous and visionary leadership on display. I am asking God to “cover his back and to back his act.”
My final thoughts are these. In our first prayer meeting for Ukraine, the anointing of the Lord landed on Pastor Wes during a season of silence in that prayer time. He shared with us a strong sense he was receiving to pray for the fear of the Lord to fall upon Vladimir Putin and all other leaders (military, diplomatic) who have a say in this ongoing crisis. We began to pray fervently for this very thing to happen. God was all over these prayers. I realize that the calculus of realpolitik does not ordinarily include the fear of Almighty God, but this is one prayer I continue to pray. That the fear of God would visit every leader across the globe who is making decisions about their nation and their military regarding the crisis in Ukraine. I certainly have no idea how this would translate into policy, except that it most assuredly should lead to the cessation of the slaughter of innocents and the destruction of cities that we have been seeing.
Thanks for letting me share these thoughts with you.
Blessings, Pastor Rick