The other night, 50 drones attacked my hometown kyiv. I could hear them buzzing overhead. I heard the loud explosions. Would my neighborhood, my house, be next?
My heart should have been pounding. But actually I felt at peace.
How is that possible?
During the last year of the war in the Ukraine, I learned that life is fragile. Life is just a breath. And my breath, and yours, is entirely in God’s hands.
It has been a difficult period for all Ukrainians and for all Christians here. Our faith has been tested and continues to be tested. It’s hard to read your Bible when your city is under rocket attack. It’s hard to find time for your devotional when you’re holed up in a shelter with no heat, no light, no water, and no food. It’s hard to stay strong in your faith when the people you know are being killed and your neighborhood is being destroyed. It is very difficult.
Prepare not to be shaken
Last week I experienced the biggest explosions yet. A part of a missile fell just 200 meters from my house. All that day I talked to the 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 is true that I cannot change the war. But I can prepare my heart so that it will not be shaken. Psalm 16:1 says, “Keep me safe, O God, for I take refuge in you” (NIV). These are words that I say to myself every day and they strengthen me.
Without the refuge that is Christ Jesus and his Word, I would collapse. When fear comes, when anxiety comes, when people tell you that there is no God, that there is no divine intervention, what helps me is to preach to my own heart. It is very 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 cannot tell yourself the truth unless you hide the Word of God in your heart. That night, as the drones kept coming, I was not afraid because the Word of God came to me: “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I will not be moved. Therefore my heart rejoices, and all my being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure” (Psalm 16:8-9, NIV).
You may be thinking: “How can you be happy when there is war in your country?” To those of you who are blessed to live in peace, I would say this: Seek God now in favorable times. Immerse yourself in his Word. Study his Word. Do not wait for tribulations to come, for times of suffering, to get closer to God. Be prepared. Do it now when you feel blessed and the sky is blue.
Cheer up in difficult 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 has partnered with local churches and pastors here for generations. Knowing that we are part of the worldwide family of God is a great encouragement!
One day, the opposite may be true. Your brothers and sisters in the Ukraine could be helping to encourage and sustain you during a time of great trouble, war, or persecution.
Make sure you are close to God now, living in his Word and preaching it to your heart, so that you can boldly face the testing times of faith that lie ahead.
Oleksandra Abramchuk is a Ukrainian Christian living in Kiev who partners with the Illinois-based Slavic Gospel Association (SGA, www.sga.org) to support local evangelical churches that provide practical help and spiritual support amidst the war in Ukraine.