While for weeks we have anticipated and even expected a Russian military invasion of the Ukraine, the reality of actually watching tanks roll into cities, apartments turned to rubble, and children huddled together in metro stations turned bomb shelters feels unbelievable. These are the sort of images we see in history books, things that happen during a game of RISK, not in real life in 2022.
As we were watching rockets being fired into Kyiv last night, Courtney said to me “it’s heartbreaking to remember that behind that rocket and in front of that rocket is a person.” As unreal as everything we are seeing and hearing seems, it is happening in a very real place to very real people. Once again we are getting a glimpse of the destruction that sin and evil have brought on our world.
Personally, even though this invasion is happening over 5,000 miles away, it still hits close to home. In college I studied Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs with a focus on Eastern Europe and Russia, and I spent the summer before my senior year there doing research, interviewing people about faith and Christianity following the collapse of communism. I have been to Russia multiple times, I’ve been inside the Kremlin, and Courtney spent two years as a missionary in Macedonia, a former communist country about 700 miles from Kyiv. But more than any of our personal experiences, this tragedy hits close to home, because it is home to brothers and sisters in our church family. Here at Veritas Tri-City we have Ukrainian and Russian members united in Christ.
I’m not writing to share my thoughts on the geopolitical causes or solutions to this conflict, even though I have many. I’m simply writing to call us as a church to pray.
First, Pray for God to bring peace and protect innocent lives. This invasion isn’t happening with precision attacks on a battlefield far from people’s homes, it will be fought in cities and neighborhoods, for bridges and buildings. Pray that God would bring a quick end to the hostility and save innocent life. And as you pray for an end to this war, pray all the more that Jesus would come soon, for the day when he brings an end to all war, and the peace of his Kingdom reigns forever.
 He shall judge between many peoples,
and shall decide disputes for strong nations far away;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore;
 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
 The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
 They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.
Second, Pray for the Church in the Ukraine. Pray that they would remain steadfast in their trust in Christ in the midst of this crisis. Pray that God would move powerfully in and through his people to draw many to find their comfort and salvation in Jesus. Churches are training their members how to apply tourniquets and bandages and basic first aid so they might save their neighbors’ lives in the weeks to come. Pray that God would use his church to sacrificially serve, to provide food, shelter, and first aid so that their neighbors would see the mercy and compassion of our God through his people.
Third, Pray for the Church in Russia and the brave citizens speaking out against the war. Last night thousands of Russians bravely gathered together to speak out against Putin and oppose the invasion. Many were arrested and now face an authoritarian system that does not tolerate dissent. Pray for their safety and that more would join their voices to speak out against President Putin’s tyranny. Pray that God would move through his church during this time to proclaim the gospel and advance His Kingdom in Russia.
Fourth, Pray for our leaders and the leaders and governments of the world to have the wisdom and the united resolve to oppose the aggression of Putin’s regime and negotiate an end to the fighting. Pray that God who brings life from death and peace from chaos would move through what evil men meant for evil purposes to bring the eternal good of his purposes.
Fifth, Pray for God to work in our own hearts so that we would treasure Jesus more than ever before and desire him above anything else in this world. Listen to the voices of our brothers and sisters worshiping in hope as their world shakes around them.
Ukraine in December “He will hold me fast” pic.twitter.com/bsn6uU7DMM
— Donald Cline (@donald_cline) February 24, 2022
He will hold them fast and he will hold you fast.
Tri-City Lead Pastor
Veritas Community Church