Fighting Fear with Faith in Ukraine: 'Get Close to God Now So You Can Face the Troubles to Come'
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The other night, 50 drones attacked my home city of Kyiv. I could hear them buzzing overhead. I listened to the loud explosions. Would my neighborhood – my home – be next?
My heart should have been pounding. But actually I felt at peace.
How is that possible?
Over the past year of war in Ukraine, I've learned life is fragile. Life is only a breath. And my breath – and yours – is entirely in God's hands.
It's been a tough period for all Ukrainians and for all the Christians here. Our faith has been tested and is still being tested. It's hard to read your Bible when your city is being attacked by rockets. It's hard to find time for your devotional when you're hiding in a shelter with no heat, no light, no water or food. It's hard to stay strong in your faith when people you know are killed and your neighborhood is being destroyed. It's really hard.
Prepare to Not Be Shaken
Last week, I experienced the biggest explosions so far. A part of a missile landed just 200 yards from my house. All that day, I spoke to people in my neighborhood. "How can you be so calm and have peace in your heart?" they said. "You can't prepare for things like this!"
It's true I can't change the war. But I can prepare my heart to not be shaken. Psalm 16:1 says: "Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge" (ESV). These are words I say to myself every day, and they strengthen me.
Without the refuge that is Christ Jesus and his Word, I would crumble. When fear comes, when anxiety comes, when people tell you there's no God, there's no divine intervention, what helps me is preaching to my own heart. It's so important to replace the lies that the world tells you. No matter what I feel, I speak God's truth to my heart and mind.
My faithful pastor once said, you can't speak truth to yourself unless you hide God's Word in your heart. That night, as the drones kept coming, I was not afraid because God's Word came to me: "I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure" (Psalm 16:8-9, ESV).
Perhaps you're thinking: "How can you rejoice when there's war in your country?" To those of you who are blessed to be living in peace, I would say this: Seek God now in favorable times. Dive into his Word. Study his Word. Don't wait for troubles to come, for the times of suffering, to get closer to God. Be ready. Do it now when you feel blessed and the sky is blue.
Encouragement in Troubled Times
God has never left us alone for a moment. In these difficult days, many of our faithful churches are being supported by Christians in America and the West through organizations such as Slavic Gospel Association (SGA, www.sga.org) – a mission that's been partnering with local churches and pastors here for generations. Knowing we're part of the worldwide family of God is such an encouragement!
One day, the reverse may be true. Your brothers and sisters in Ukraine might be helping to encourage and sustain you through a time of great trouble, war, or persecution.
Make sure you're close to God now – living in his Word and preaching it to your heart – so you're able to face with courage the faith-testing times to come.
Oleksandra Abramchuk is a Ukrainian Christian living in Kyiv and partnering with Illinois-based Slavic Gospel Association (SGA, www.sga.org) to support local evangelical churches as they bring practical aid and spiritual support amid the war in Ukraine.
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