I’m sure we have all seen the recent news of protests in Ukraine which has resulted in the flight of President Victor Yanukovych, his impeachment by Parliament, and the appointment of an interim president. However, today, the Russian parliament has voted to deploy troops in Ukraine. The situation is complicated by the fact that while protestors wish to side with the European Union, many others in the country are pro-Russia.
I can understand why Russia feels a need to protect its interests, especially given that Ukraine has no doubt been a bread basket for the Russians. I also harbor no illusions that if the U.S. were in the Russians’ position, it would most likely be trying to hold on to what it perceived as its own assets.
But I also am on the side of freedom and of a country’s right to choose its own destiny, and therefore I am on the side of Ukraine. And given Russia’s tendency to be an international bully (although again, I am sure there are many who would label the U.S. as the same) I am disinclined to sympathize with Putin and the Russian people. In one respect, it is unfortunate that our President and Congress have made the decision to reduce our army to pre-World War II levels. At the same time, I think it is an opportunity for Christians, in this country and around the world, who care about feedom to rely more on the power of God to liberate a nation. Salvation will not come from President Obama. Salvation will not come from Petagon. Salvation will not come from NATO. Salvation will not come from the U.N.
Salvation will only come from Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
As Scripture reminds us, “our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:12). So let us pray for protection of the Ukrainian people. Aside from that, I will allow the Holy Spirit to guide you on what to pray for specifically. But if I may be indulged in giving one more piece of advice, I believe the Lord’s Pray gives us some guidance on what to pray for. Specifically, let us pray that God’s “kingdom come” and His “will would be done”, in Ukraine, “as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). It was in the coming reality of God’s kingdom that the early Christians placed their hope. They also understood that in Christ’s very presence on earth, that the Kingdom of God had already begun to take effect. So as we pray for Ukraine, let us claim the promise of His heavenly kingdom.
Now, let me address one other item in this post. My last blog post was titled “One Thing Needed”. In it, I used the discipline of Visio Divina to encourage the reader to reflect on who in their life they may be “presenting” for. And I tried, through the use of reflection questions, to have the reader meditate on the impact Christ, and our attendance to Him, has on our influence with various “audiences”. But it’s interesting that I would use that picture and make that connection. You see, for some time now I have felt God calling me to take a break from this blog. Obviously, I enjoy writing. And I hope and pray that God uses this blog in some small way for His own glory.
But I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that on some level I have become obsessed with this blog. I check the statistics page almost every day. I find myself constantly thinking of ideas for new posts. Sometimes I lie awake at night because I can’t shut off the creative side of my brain. It’s becoming somewhat draining, both mentally and spiritually.
And what better time to take a break from this blog to find spiritual refreshment then during the period of Lent? Many people choose to fast from some treasured activity or pleasure during Lent as a way of identifying with the suffering of Christ. This is why some people give up chocolate or meat. The small sense of suffering that occurs through unsatisfied cravings is meant to remind us of the much greater suffering Jesus endured on the cross as our sins were transferred to Him.
So I am fasting from this blog during Lent, saying “no” to it so that I can say “yes” to cultivating my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I hope during this period to immerse myself more in Scripture and prayer (for Ukraine among other things) as well as attend to other things in my life. But fear not! For I will return after Lent. And in fact I have a post that I am very excited about sharing that I have scheduled for April 17. I wrote it some time ago, but seeing it’s relevance to the cross and Good Friday, have decided to wait until then to post it.
In the meantime, have a blessed Lent and may Christ be with you!