Lord, Give Us Peace - Reflections on the War in Ukraine
It has been over a year since all out war broke out in Ukraine, a developing country of over 40 million people and which by land mass is the second largest country in Europe (behind only Russia).
I remember staying up to 1:00am watching live video showing up on twitter of Russian missiles flying into Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. It is hard to believe that over a year later this war still persists with no sign of letting up and the losses are hard to quantitate.
There has been a tremendous loss of human life on both sides. Conservative estimates put Russian losses at around 50,000 soldiers and Ukraine at 15,000. It is likely that the losses are far higher. When the injured are included with those killed, it is very possible that totally casualties are 200,000 for Russia and 100,000 for Ukraine not including around 10,000 citizens who have died. These numbers are astounding. Compare that to the United States, which lost only 58,000 men over the TWENTY YEARS in Vietnam. The losses sustained above happened in 12 months.
This does not account for other human suffering as well. Over eight million Ukrainians have left the country as refugees. The physical damage to Ukraine's infrastructure is massive. Rebuilding Ukraine will cost anywhere from $525-630 billion according to the World Bank. Just to give context, that is three times the country's GDP (before the war).
This should break our hearts.
How should we respond to this global tragedy? What do we do with the evil and suffering of war that is before our eyes? I would suggest three responses:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 1 Timothy 2:1-6
- PRAY FOR PEACE
- Pray for righteous leaders to stand up and stop this needless human suffering
- Pray for soldiers on both sides who are minutes away from eternity. Pray they would put their faith in Jesus Christ
- Pray for relief workers who are risking their lives to help those who are suffering
- Pray for churches and missionaries in Ukraine and Russia to be beacons of light, hope and truth in this time
- Pray for Ukrainian families who are dispersed all over Europe
- Pray that this war would result in powerful gospel movements in eastern Europe
Don't Be Surprised
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. Matthew 24:6
Jesus predicted this. With the brokenness of sin still affecting our world and civilizations, violence and suffering is to be expected. Think of these things as birthing pains that should awaken us to the reality of eternity and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our troubles and difficulties in this life should point us to our future and coming hope. They should not surprise us.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. -John 16:33
Jesus said these things "must take place." They are part of a greater plan that will lead to the return of the Prince of Peace.
Eagerly Await the return of the Prince of Peace
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4
The King is comingAre you ready? Are you heralding the coming of the Prince of Peace? He will bring peace for sure but He will arrive with a sword for his enemies. His judgment for those who have not bowed the knee to His lordship will make Russia's invasion look pathetic in comparison.
If you are in Christ, take heart! We know how the story ends.
A Powerful Song of Peace
This past fall in Nashville, Tennessee at the Sing! Worship Conference the song He Will Hold Me Fast was song together by a Ukrainian and Russian as a symbol of and cry for peace. It is very moving and I highly recommend (Watch it below)!
Keith Getty, the leader of this conference, said, "While the conflict rages and lives are upended, the church still sings. The fiercest war cannot divide God’s redeemed people—whichever side of the border on which they live—because Christ died to make them one. No matter our nationality or ethnicity, our cry of faith is the same: "Bought by him at such a cost, he will hold me fast.'"