We enjoy the beauties of spring–azaleas in mounds of color, trees leafing out. We go to the store to buy groceries. We pick up kids from school and listen to their tales of winning a recitation competition or the woes of taking a big test. The smell of freshly cut grass gives us a feeling of rightness and well being as do the sounds of birds singing, a garbage truck growling on its rounds, and the hum of traffic as usual. As I wash potatoes to bake for supper I hear the blast of explosions from the television, the screams of small children, the reports of more missiles, more heartache.
In the Ukraine a war wages. Only weeks ago families in Lviv, Mariupol, and Kyiv were living peacefully day by day. Parents went to work, children studied history and played games at recess. Nurses and doctors treated illnesses, not shrapnel wounds. Firemen responded to the occasional house fire, not to tall apartment buildings ablaze from enemy attack. A picture from one news bulletin haunts me, that of a little boy’s tearful face in a train window, both hands stretched toward his father who waves back. He must stay to fight for freedoms so recently enjoyed. When will these two see each other again?
All my life I have read and listened to the accounts of the horrors in Europe as Hitler went about annihilating Jews and anyone who helped them. Now Putin seems bent on destroying the country of Ukraine. He has no respect for laws of war as his men fire on people in a bread line or bomb a maternity hospital or apartment buildings.
The Ukrainians are brave and courageous and very clever. Weeks have gone by and Russia has yet to defeat these people whose loyalty and tenacity make up some for their lack of planes and other war equipment. We are reminded of our own Revolutionary War in which our soldiers fought for their freedom and their land, overcoming the British with sheer passion, perseverance, and–prayer.
We are a people who depend on our own skills and strategies to meet the enemy. What can we do for these people a world away who are under siege for no provocation of their own? Millions are fleeing, children are hungry and thirsty, mothers terrified. A theater housing civilians–women and children–has been bombed. Ukraine is being attacked from south and north, east and west.
What can we do? “All we can do is pray” is an oft repeated line but we need to realize “The most important thing we can do is pray.”
God who stopped the lions’ mouths for Daniel and defeated an overwhelming army with 300 men under an untrained general named Gideon, that God is still as powerful as ever. We need to pray for President Zelenskyy, for the Ukrainian people, for our leaders in the free world to make wise decisions, and even for Putin that his plans would be thwarted. We need to pray for the Christians in Ukraine that they will have courage and boldness to do the right thing. We need to pray for the medical and humanitarian staff in two or more Samaritan’s Purse field hospitals, as well as for tireless Red Cross workers and many, many others.
As we pray, we may recognize other things we can do. We may answer the call to give. There are reliable avenues for getting money to the very people who need it. Both the Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse will use effectively all the funds they receive.
We need not sit helplessly in front of our television screens and do nothing. We can pray and we can give and we can thank the Lord for our own freedom and hug our family members harder than ever. And we can appreciate the normalcy of going to work and school, of planting crops and shopping for shoes.