I was in Russia in 2012 and in Ukraine in the summer of 2018. Since a few of my books have been translated into Russian, I have connections on both sides of the escalating tensions in that part of the world. Sadly, the greed and insecurities of our world leaders continue to force the everyday citizenry into wars they wouldn’t choose for themselves. That’s the price of human “kings,” according to Samuel, when Israel demanded one of their own. They will take your stuff, send your sons to war and take your daughters captive. It continues to happen in our sad, sad world.
This is the email sent me from someone who received it from a friend in Russia:
Thank you so much for Wayne Jacobsen’s book, He Loves Me. This book is one of my favorites. I was able to find one hard copy at one of the Christian online stores, read it myself, and was very inspired. I shared my copy of the paper book with another person. We are learning to live in the Love of the Father. We are earning to live sharing the organic nature of the Kingdom of God, but there’s still so much we are trying to learn. We want to have like-minded people, but so far it hasn’t worked out so well. It feels as if we are all alone against the great raging waves. But God is always with us!
And this was recently sent out from a family (pictured above) that I spent time with a few years ago in Ukraine as they face an uncertain future.
Our family has never been held hostage. But now it feels as if we have been captured by terrorists. Daily news of new meetings, talks, and attempts world leaders make to pull Ukraine out of the threat of imminent war, confirm that we are on the brink of an abyss. Even though Russia’s war against Ukraine has been going on for 8 years now. We know that many people do not want to hear about it. Some Christians argue that “this is all simply politics, and we must be above that and build the Kingdom of God.” So you can say until the war comes to your home. Then it becomes clear that behind our “spirituality” often hides indifference to other people’s grief and an uncontrollable desire to maintain comfort at any cost.
However, for our country, war is a bitter and painful reality. And for our family, this has been ou daily service for the last 8 years. Are we afraid? Of course. News dishearten. During a war, people are terrible, cruel, and ruthless. Will the war reach our homes? Will we hear explosions and see blood and death with our own eyes? Will we have the courage to go through this? Uncertainty scares…
Are we angry? Yes. Two World Wars passed throughout the territory of Ukraine. And for the third time, Putin’s Russia is ready to drown Ukraine in blood. We remember the days of the Soviet Union. Putin seeks to restore this terrible country, the times of Stalin and the KGB. Millions of people were persecuted, tortured, and went missing. Thousands of Christians were persecuted and gave their lives for Christ.
What encourages us? Firstly, the Lord Himself! He is the only Guarantor of our salvation! We are grateful to all countries for any kind help, although we do not rely on the United States, NATO or Europe. We hear His voice through the Word, in our minds, from other Christians, which calms us and gives us hope. We cling to Him and trust Him as children.
Secondly, the prayers of millions of Christians around the world. You are an incredibly strong support for us. Thank you for your heartfelt words, your prayers and your tears. We feel as if we’re a part of God’s great army, which stands in prayer on the borders of Ukraine. We encourage others and help the families of fallen soldiers and the families of the military. Moreover, we are preparing to accept refugees into our home. Our relatives from Kharkiv and a pastor from Kyiv have already asked us to accept their wives and children when the hostilities begin. We ask the Lord to for wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit in this difficult time and about the salvation of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians and Russians who are in fear.
I love the grace and courage they are finding in this situation amidst the heartbeat of their deep concern. It is easy to see this conflict in terms of geopolitical realities and forget the price paid by individuals and families in both of these countries. My personal connections give me a deeper investment in events that go on half a world away, and perhaps it can inspire your prayers for them as well during these difficult days.
Brothers and sisters of Ukraine and Russia, our hearts are with you and our prayers hold you before the One who will get the last word on everything, even the chaos of our broken world. Often it is with groanings too deep for words, but please know you are not alone.
“Jesus, may your kingdom come; your will be done, here on earth as it is in heaven. Lord Jesus come now to the people of Russia and Ukraine. Let your glory rise in your people there and shine out of them with your glory against the darkness. Hold their hearts close to yours in your love, and let your love flow through them to those terrified around them. Give them the courage to navigate whatever circumstances befall them with your insight and your wisdom, deliver them from evil, and renew them in your goodness. Amen.”