(This is not a normal word… how can I respond in any other way. This theme is consistent with the blog … holding on…Current life happenings propel us to find our only safe place.)
“We are not safe anywhere,” the hopelessness in her eyes penetrated the screen. I wanted to grab her and run. A young father watching his four-year old son tumble on a mattress sheltered in the basement of a local church reveals the same fear, “I feel like there is no safe place. It’s like heading into the unknown.”
Ukrainians are afraid.
Maybe… we’re all afraid.
When there is no safe place… no physical place to find shelter… from disease, from accidents, from catastrophic weather events?
A Christian leader in a former quiet suburb of eastern Ukraine is encouraging the believers to “have faith that God is with them even when the ground is shaking.”
“This (kind of fighting, missiles exploding) doesn’t happen in reality,” the President of a Christian civil movement in Ukraine expressed. “It only happens in plots of movies and in history books.”
But it is happening… today… everywhere.
Evangelical Christians make up about 2% of the population of Ukraine, but that number may be growing during these days of darkness. One woman proclaimed, “I’m not an atheist anymore!” As the fearful find shelter in church basements, some are finding faith as they hear the message of salvation. The predominant religion in this state is Eastern Orthodoxy, and followers adhere to similar beliefs of Christianity. We can trust many of them are running to their Safe Place.
Remember the hit song in 1988… don’t worry… be happy, by Bobby McFerrin? Do you think for a single minute the Christians in the midst of this battle can sing these words these days? Even if we dubbed in Paul’s words from Philippians… rejoice, don’t be afraid. Sounds more spiritual, perhaps, but is it remotely possible? I think not. Sometimes, there’s no place to go.
“You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7
When the world explodes around me, when the ground is shaking, and I am afraid. When there are only dead ends ahead, physically, I run as fast as I can straight into Tom’s arms. And I’ve been running into those arms a lot lately. He holds me. Strong. He wouldn’t let me go if a Mack truck were barreling towards us. I know that.
But there is Another holding both of us. I know that.
As I was reading in Psalm 147 this morning, burdened for the hearts of these unable to find safe places, verse four breathed hope to my fearful heart: “He determines the number of stars and calls them each by name.” Suddenly I heard this God of the universe whispering the names of every single person… it was as if I understood how very much He cares for and loves each of us.
And there’s only One Place to go… when there is no place to go. We go to the One who loves us.
“I will take shelter, refuge… safety in the shadow of Your wings until the disaster has passed.” Psalm 57:2
The president of one the Christian schools in the Ukraine encouraged believers to ponder and trust the words of Psalm 33, a portion stated below.
“No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice for we trust in His holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” v16-22.
If you are secure in your Hiding Place, wrapped with hope and peace, then join me in praying that the peoples of the world find this same Safe Place. Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27