While wars have been going on ever since the Old Testament, God does not want us to be afraid. These are dark times; however, God longs to fill our hearts with His peace.
Discussions of wars have been a disheartening timepiece throughout history, continuing today with the recent event of Russia declaring war on Ukraine. Ever since 2020, it seems the world has been hit by disaster after disaster. For the past several years, the world has been struggling through the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused many fatalities. Now, as of February 24, 2022, Russia has declared war on Ukraine.
While on earth, Jesus didn't negate this reality. He addressed the feared truth that war will forever plague a sinful, fallen world. Yet, Jesus left us with a hope, the Hope, to sustain us, even in times of war.
Words of Wars
Jesus tells us about wars and rumors of wars in Matthew 24:6-8, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” The Russian invasion of Ukraine is one of the “wars” that Jesus refers to in this passage.
It is thought that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is the worst war to befall Europe since the end of World War II. Many people believe the war in Ukraine marks a new age of “authoritarianism,” which could possibly stretch across Europe and extend further into other nations (David Leonhardt, “Why Ukraine Is Different,” The New York Times, 2022). Russia and Ukraine have been at odds since 2014, yet it was not until this year of 2022 that President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, decided to invade Ukraine and declare war on this nation. Putin wants to take Ukraine over once again and make Ukraine part of Russia.
Ukraine has been free since August 24, 1991, but now, Russia wants to regain power in this country. Ukraine is fighting back because they want to keep their freedom and independence from Russia. Many world leaders have expressed their condemnation of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine; however, Putin is not changing his course of action. Putin has his eyes fixed on taking the capital, Kyiv. It is without a doubt that this war between Russia and Ukraine is the first of its kind since the 1940s.
If this war has caused you to become frightened and afraid, know you are not alone. The invasion by Russia into Ukraine has caused many of us to become fearful and unsure of the future. While wars have been going on ever since the Old Testament, God does not want us to be afraid. These are dark times; however, God longs to fill our hearts with His peace. Jesus tells us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We will continue to experience wars and rumors of wars in our lives, yet God always promises to stay with us (Hebrews 13:5). God doesn’t promise to take us out of hard times, but He does promise to walk with us through these times.
Fixing Our Eyes on Jesus
During these tough times, it is important for us to fix our eyes on Jesus. The author of Hebrews encourages us by saying, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2). When we fix our eyes on Jesus, we will be better equipped at staying strong and brave during difficult times. Wars and rumors of wars will abound until the Lord establishes His kingdom, and we will have to do our best when we are going through these times.
When wars and rumors of wars start creeping into our minds, we need to turn back to Jesus and trust in Him. Wars are part of the fallen world, which means we will continue to have them. There will be times for war and peace, yet as Christians, we should always strive for peace (Ecclesiastes 3:8). Many are speculating that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could be the start of World War III; however, we don’t know that with certainty. Wars are scary, and Europe has not had a major war since World War II, which is why it can be especially frightening. Meanwhile, in America, we have experienced years, decades, of war following WW II, most notably our War on Terrorism. Yet, none of our wars has been as global as when Nazi Germany tried to overtake Europe and the rest of the world. Ukraine is under extreme pressure right now and is in extreme danger. As Christians, particularly as American Christians, we need to take time to pray on behalf of Ukraine, both for their souls' salvation and their safety.
As of February 25, 2022, at 12 p.m. EST, a total of 137 Ukrainian civilians and military personnel have been killed due to Russia’s invasion (“Zelenskiy Says More Than 130 Dead In Russian Invasion And That Ukraine Has Been 'Left Alone' To Fight,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 2022). The numbers are expected to increase as the war continues. Praying for the safety, protection, and salvation of Ukraine is of utmost importance. In addition to praying for Ukraine, if you feel led to give to an organization that is helping Ukraine, you can provide financial aid through nonprofits, such as the Nova Ukraine, The Kyiv Independent, or the Red Cross. Once it is safe to go within Ukrainian borders, Ukraine will need much help with proper medical care, humanitarian efforts, and building new homes. If you feel led by the Spirit to help, you can volunteer with organizations and ministries that will provide Ukraine with relief support measures. Ukraine is going through a dark time right now and we need to do all we can to extend Jesus’ love, compassion, and support to them.
God doesn’t want us to be anxious or worried about what is to come. Rather, He wants us to cast our anxieties on Him and trust Him (1 Peter 5:7). Even amidst the wars and rumors of wars, we need to think positively. Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Continuing on, Paul also tells us, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8). When we shift our focus on thinking about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy, we can better impact the world for God. Yes, these are dark times; however, God is still in control. No matter how bad things might get, God is always divinely in control.
Whether you are near Ukraine or far away, put these teachings into your daily life. Wars and rumors of wars will abound for the duration of the earth, yet we can always have hope because we can trust in God. He won’t ever leave us or forsake us. Rest in the peace of God and go to Him in prayer. Pour out your worries and concerns to Him. Ask Him to fill you with His peace and use you to help those struggling in Ukraine. It is also important to pray for Russia and even President Putin. The Lord desires all people to be saved, even if they have done wicked things (1 Timothy 2:4). There are many people in Russia who do not condone Putin’s actions, thus, it is not fair to associate all Russians with Putin’s decisions. We should pray for Ukraine, Russia, and their leaders. We cannot be dogmatic about when the war will be over or how far it will extend, but we can rest in the knowledge that God is with us and He will never forsake us.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Pawel Gaul
Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.