As I Think and Pray for Ukraine and Russia
I took this picture in Nyon, Switzerland about two months ago. It’s an image of the vestige of the Roman Empire that ruled the world after the Greeks. I knew I wanted to use the image to say something about the coming and goings of world empires but never got around to it.
When Russia invaded Ukraine with a 150,000 strong army at 5 am in the morning this image comes back to mind. In what looks like a military move not only to seize Ukraine but probably other Eastern European as well to regain former glory, power and significance I look to the Lord for wisdom.
The Bible says that the Lord is the One who WAS, and IS and is TO COME and when we see life and world events through the lens of this aspect of His nature we are given the ability to be stable, hopeful and helpful to our neighbors and friends in trying times.
It’s important to look to the past to see historic outcomes to understand our present and future. Throughout the ages the Lord has allowed world powers upon the stage of human history, weilding beast like powers of economic, political and military might, all while drunk on the wine of empire building and world domination. (Dan 7) For reasons we don't fully understand, these beasts have been allowed to cause some havoc and some devastation. However, NOT ONE of these powers have EVER been allowed to realized their full ambition and ALL of them have been erased with the passage of time to mere ruins or mere shadows of their past conquering self. This is because there is ONE who is in the midst of all nations (though He may allow them some freedom), that says to all world powers “this far and no further!”. He raises kings and puts down kings in due time and due course. Jesus is not a Sunday school personality but the Lord who rules in the midst of geopolitics of the world from Babylon, Medes and Persian, Greece, Rome, and yes even China and Russia. He is decisively moving history and nations forward to a determined conclusion.
Even though the Lord reigns unmatched in sovereignty. This is by no means not to downplay the real pain and trauma that these beast nations cause while they are given the space by the Sovereign Lord to rage. Even Jesus, felt the wrath of the beast of Rome when being arrested to be executed. His understanding that personal tragedy can come even in the midst of God ruling is clear when we said “ This hour belongs to you and to the power of darkness” (Luke 22:53b) Notice its only an hour and an hour passes. However, during their hour of darkness, they do real harm and real damage and hurt real lives. Families now in Ukraine have to flee from their home and livelihoods for safety. Some lives will be lost, families torn apart, societies set back decades. But during this time that the beast is raging, are to to be in the despair?
No, during “their hour” we pray and see the Lord’s hand move to save, the church loves its neighbor sacrificially, the church sends money to trusted ministries on the ground, the church there stays in Kyiv and hides, protects and feeds people and some leave and serve in other ways. We are to be present (IS) when the nation beast is raging to show the love and kindness of God to those who are hurting and whose lives are being disrupted. Even as God is Present (even during evil) we are called to be present as well. What gives us moral courage is that our Lord experienced the crushing of a beast nation on the cross but rose in Victory and these beast nations one day will be utterly removed from the face of the earth through the rock - the kingdom of God. So we serve and work in hope.
Daniel saw a huge rock not cut with human hands strike all the beast nations and then fill the whole earth. Life is not circular but linear and is moving towards a conclusion and a climax. Where evil, war and the world powers that have been the agents of both will be utterly overthrown and Jesus will usher in the age of eternal peace. But until then, we pray, we give , we help and we serve with the unshakable hope that all evils will be punished, all wrongs will be made right and that Jesus will defeat all empires and the nations shall live in peace under his loving reign forever because he rose from the grave.
Adrian is the co founder of The Nova Project. He is a speaker, author, bible teacher, filmmaker and entrepreneur. He currently lives in Geneva with his wife Robertha and two sons Levi-Hunter and Luke-Pierce