Thursday, March 03, 2022

Comfort In Chaos In Ukraine

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Amid the chaos of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, we are now getting pictures and short stories of something that is also happening "on the ground," as they say, in Ukraine.

In the middle of the war zone that is producing daily pictures and reports of bombs and rockets and tanks directed by a despot intent on recreating the old Soviet Union, there are images that are inspiring and affirming of God's grace and love---and the spirit, grit, and determination of Ukrainian Christians. 

Be informed.

As I was trying to clear my head this morning, but not my memory--- of all that was said and not said at the State of the Union address, I took a moment to check in on some of the Christians in the middle of the war zone in Ukraine---get a spiritual update from the front lines.

George Thomas is a senior international journalist with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).

The general attitude of the people.

He says "The general tone is one of determination, of courage, of a fighting spirit." 

He says many of those he has spoken to on the street are in awe of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. "Somebody said to me, 'He hasn't even shaved, and look at the way he's rallying the country, rallying the troops...he's in the trenches'." 

Thousands of Ukrainians have stepped up to defend their nation amid deadly hostility from invading Russian forces. A former beauty queen is reportedly among the many willing to risk their lives and safety for their love of country.

Thomas says:

Anastasiia Lenna, 31, a former Miss Grand Ukraine, is purportedly training to defend her homeland.

Multiple media outlets reported that Lenna, a 2015 Miss Grand International beauty contestant, reportedly took to social media to show she’s planning to defend Ukraine.

“Everyone who crosses the Ukrainian border with the intent to invade will be killed!” she wrote on Instagram, according to Sky News.

The Daily Mail noted that Lenna is among the many local Ukrainians rising to take a stand against Russian aggression. She reportedly posted an Instagram photo holding a rifle.

The exact details surrounding Lenna’s involvement aren’t clear, but she has also been posting messages encouraging support for Ukraine’s armed forces and the nation’s continued push against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s violent onslaught.

Lenna’s story is only the latest to emerge in Ukraine as thousands rush to enlist in the military. Among the masses taking such brave steps are some deeply prominent people willing to risk their lives for the cause.

Then there is this story about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy who is among those willing to battle for the soul — and the very existence — of his country. When the U.S. offered to evacuate Zelenskyy from Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, he replied:

“The fight is here, I need ammunition — not a ride.”

Then there’s Volodymyr Omelyan, a man who served as the nation’s infrastructure minister from 2016 to 2019. He enlisted in the military, said goodbye to his family, and is confident Ukraine will be victorious.

“I’m not a natural-born killer, and I never dreamed to be that type of guy,” he told NPR, noting, though, that he plans to defend his nation and loved ones. “We will win.”

Then there’s Dr. Marta Yuzkiv, a mother who joined the military last April as issues with Russia intensified. She’s now planning to leave her family and fight.

“I need to go,” she said. “I won’t allow them to take our land and our freedom. They don’t believe in our right to exist. We have to defend, and we will win.”

Most all Ukrainians are standing strong for their freedom.

The bravery and resolve on display are staggering. People of all walks of life, from teenagers to 60-year-olds are taking up arms and fighting for their freedom.

Comfort in chaos.

In addition to the stories of ordinary citizens, and some not so ordinary as in the case of the President, there are the stories about the Christians. And there are many Christians in Ukraine.

Thomas offered a lens into how Ukrainian Christians are handling the deadly uncertainty: "with faith, love, and an appeal to the Gospel."

As Russian troops storm the city of Kyiv, a woman is seen praying in front of a monastery with her hands raised to heaven.

Thomas says the evangelical church he visited over the weekend is not only praying and worshipping but is also actively engaged in being the hands and feet of Jesus.

“The pastor of the church, in essence, set the tone for this past Sunday,” Thomas said. “He got up and said, ‘As we worship and come into a time of praise and worship, that all of the songs we sing today, we sing keeping in mind what is going on today in our nation. And as we storm the gates of heaven with our praise … we are in essence storming the gates of heaven for peace as well.'”

Thomas said the church service was “very moving” and that congregants — including some who had fled from other areas of Ukraine — were fully engaged from the front row to the back.

Thomas says as air raid sirens blared in Livi, Ukraine, he was taken into an underground shelter used for the people trying to escape the chaos of the war. The Christians told him, "This is what people have to face now" as they showed him the look and feel of the underground respite below the church.

As the worship service continued, Thomas was shown how the church is setting up pillows and sheets and assembling clothing and toiletries they had purchased for individuals and families in need.

Thomas says there were already five families living in the church---their homes had been destroyed. 

As the service continued, church staff members were hauling mattresses up two flights of stairs to what would become a space for another family.


As I watched the video of the worship service I wept. I've been in so many similar services, in different languages, and in different countries around the world---yet they are all the same. Open hearts praising God regardless of the circumstances.

God is faithful. God is in control. There is comfort in the chaos if we stay focused on the Lord.

Pray for the people of Ukraine.

Be Informed. Be Prayerful.