Lamenting for Ukraine
It has been a week of enormous shock and sorrow.
It feels almost unbelievable that Russia have invaded Ukraine.
It feels desperate that seemingly one man – or a small collection of people could cause such devastation.
Our hearts go out to the people of Ukraine.
And as individuals – we inevitably find these events unsettling – especially when we think about where it might lead. (and there is little doubt we will be impacted here)
But there is nothing new under the sun. These are the wars and rumours of wars our Saviour promised – as we await his return.
Our Lord God has spoken in to these events over the centuries through his powerful word. He is in control of them.
Some words from Isaiah 40
21 Do you not know? Have you not heard?....
22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
The Lord God alone is God - he rules effortlessly over our world - and over world leaders.
These things are not out of his control. And He will bring his good purposes to bear.
So, what do we do?
As the Psalmists often do - We respond with awe-filled praise at his mighty power, majesty and saving love
But also…We lament for Ukraine – which means expressing our pain – but with purpose..
a destination, which is trust and worship.
As we have learned in recent months, lament prays in a way that takes us through the pain, brokenness or disappointment to find hope and strength in taking hold of God’s promises.
We turn to him.
We tell him very honestly how we are feeling.
We ask him to help - bold prayers - holding him to his promises.
And then telling him that we trust in him - remembering his faithfulness and love that you and I have seen before.
So we don’t try to sweep this stuff under the carpet, ignore it and fill our day with distraction. We face it, and talk to Him about it. We describe it.
This is what the Psalmists so often do.
So much Scripture can help us but Because I have been reading it recently I have gone to Psalm 4 . It is such an honest prayer:
1 Answer me when I call,
O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
Here is the God who answers prayer
2 O men, how long shall my honour be turned into shame?
How long will you love vain words and seek after lies?
3 But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.
Here is the God who sets apart those he loves …and protects them.
He instructs us how to respond …
4 Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.
5 Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.
6 There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”
The Lord gives us a greater joy than the earth affords
7 You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.
And true security comes from his hand
8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
As we pray this coming week …Let us turn God’s word over in our hearts - for as one Bible teacher says “the mind stocked with truth – is the mind fortified”
Let us pray
Sovereign over all the nations, we cry out to you now for the people of Ukraine. We ask you to rescue those who are vulnerable from the hands of their enemies that they may live without fear before you all their days. Bring healing to the injured and comfort for those grieving. According to your will - stay the weapons and bombs – please reverse this sad conflict.
Give leaders and politicians – including our government - great wisdom to know how to act and discover how to seek peace.
And Lord God in all of this - may you bring many to their knees in repentance and faith – that they will cry to you and find you. And – Lord God – we thank you for the many Christians who are serving. Please give them your words, that they and we might know how to declare the praises of him who brought your people out of darkness into your wonderful light. We pray all this In Jesus name and to his glory.
Dan McGowan 27.2.22