With Ukraine forced to take center stage in world events, here are 5 lessons we can learn from Christians in Ukraine, based on Nicole’s interactions through I.D.E.S. (International Disaster Emergency Service).
The situation in Ukraine seems overwhelming. Families are being separated, lives are being lost, and devastating destruction is taking place daily. However, despite all this, there are many Ukrainian Christians who are choosing to remain in the country. These brothers and sisters in Christ are risking their lives ‘round the clock to share the gospel and provide for the needs of others who remain. They are more concerned with reaching the needs of their fellow Ukrainians and reaching the lost than with their own safety and comfort.
People all around the world are anxiously watching the injustices happening in Ukraine and waiting to see what the outcome will be. Many are joining together in prayer; many are calling for boycotts. But mostly, people are watching and waiting while Ukraine remains front and center on the world stage.
This is a prime opportunity for us to learn some valuable lessons from the Ukrainian Christians.
Since being thrust into the spotlight, Ukraine is now on everybody’s radar, and I believe this is a prime opportunity for us to learn some valuable lessons from the Ukrainian Christians.
What can we learn from the Christians in Ukraine?
1. We are one body, united in Christ.
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1)
Ukrainian Christians remaining in the country are uniting together, regardless of particular distinctions in their beliefs, to provide for the needs of the people. Where there could be dissonance and disunity, we’re seeing only brothers and sisters united in Christ, working towards the same goals: sharing the love of Christ and serving those in need. We are also a part of that same body of Christ and these are our brothers and sisters, our Kingdom family. We love them, care about them, and ache for them because they are our family. This is a great reminder that the body of Christ is connected in Spirit, if not in proximity.
“The body of Christ is connected in Spirit, if not in proximity.”
2. When we face trials, we learn what we truly believe.
“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry.” (Ps. 34:15)
While faced with danger, destruction, and death, our Ukrainian brothers and sisters have not abandoned their faith but have clung to it. More than that, they are living it and sharing it with others. They know that God sees their situation, hears their prayers, and cares for them. When we face intense trials, that’s when we learn what we truly believe. What a great reminder to check our own belief and ask ourselves, “When faced with adversity, do I truly trust the God I claim to trust?”
“God sees their situation, hears their prayers, and cares for them.”
3. Faith requires courage.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Josh. 1:9)
There are many Christians in Ukraine that could leave, but they choose to stay anyway. They know that God created each and every one of us for a purpose and they are boldly embracing that purpose, even if it means death. We may or may not ever face the possibility of death for the sake of spreading the gospel, but we will all experience physical and spiritual battles that will require us to be courageous in our faith. When those times come, God will be with us.
4. The Holy Spirit is alive and active.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” (Rom. 8:26)
We know that the Holy Spirit is with the Ukrainian believers and that He is working through them (John 14:16-17). The Spirit of God is alive and active and He is moving in Ukraine. The Christians there have a heart for the Russian soldiers and are earnestly praying for them. They are allowing themselves to be receptive to the Spirit’s guidance and they are interceding on behalf of their oppressors. When we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, He will enable us to do things we’d never be able to do on our own.
“The Spirit of God is alive and active and He is moving in Ukraine.”
5. They need our prayers.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Eph. 6:18)
We do not lift the Ukrainian Christians up on a pedestal; we lift them up in prayer. They need Christians all over the world to raise them up before the Father to help sustain them. We may be separated by many miles, but we are all connected by the blood of Christ. As members of the Kingdom family we have a duty to be alert to their needs and present our requests to God on their behalf. And we should do it continually (1 Thess. 5:17).