Watching the continued bombing of Ukraine, the destruction of city after city, with no apparent concern for civilian casualties, raises the level of fear for those still in that beleaguered country and for those who live near the borders.
Despair comes easily when the circumstances we focus on scream of futility and injustice.
People are dying in a nation that was attacked without cause.
Pressure is being exerted on Ukraine to submit to Russian rule. To allow this mammoth country to come and do as they please, take what they want, and not allow for the independence Ukraine has worked hard to maintain. These people are proud of who they are; they have a national identity they don’t want to relinquish.
How can they be protected?
Several years ago John and I were able to go to Israel with the added bonus of seeing some of the historical landmarks. One that impressed us was Masada, a mountain fortress above the western shore of the Dead Sea, overlooking a huge desert wasteland. It was built by Herod the Great as a refuge in case of a revolt against him. It was fully outfitted for defense, its primary protection being a single-file path up 1,300 feet to the fortress. Easily protected.
It became home to a group of Jewish zealots who hid there as Rome ransacked Israel, destroying the Temple in 70 A.D. This group was the last resistance to Roman rule, and the Romans determined to purge the area of these insurrectionists.
The Romans couldn’t effectively reach the band of about a thousand people living at the top, so they used slaves, many of them Jewish, to build a siege ramp up the mountain. It took almost a year to complete, and when they finally made it up the mountain, the Romans found a hideous scene. All but two women and five children were dead, families choosing death–they slaughtered their own–over capture and enslavement.
There are no human fortresses that are impregnable.
We will always have wars, people fighting others for reasons of selfishness and power. This world is broken, and we don’t have the ingenuity or consistent character to fix it. We can’t even agree as to what will help the ugliness we find ourselves in.
He’s allowed us free will to do what we choose; He doesn’t force us to love Him. He offers hope in the midst of the pain and suffering of this world. Experience tells us we will encounter problems in life, from minor inconveniences to disasters. If we choose to go through them with God, in His power, we’ll develop a new perspective of the problem.
“The Lord is good, a strong REFUGE when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in Him.” Nahum 1:7
In Him, we can find the strength to go through the challenges. He gives us the endurance to walk through the challenges instead of fearing them.
His ultimate gift–hope for an eternal future with Him. If we choose the right side of eternity.
The followers of Jesus in Ukraine understand pain, and they’ve lost much of what they had, but they are rejoicing over their eternal hope.
Who will you rely on to be your eternal fortress?