By Rick James
Last week has been tough. The shocking stories and pictures from the Russian invasion of Ukraine shows the evil in people’s hearts. I find it almost too overwhelming to think about. I desperately want to pretend it is not happening. Jesus’ words “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33) are too painfully true. At a more personal level, an NGO I know and love is failing to deal with its organisational problems; my church is really struggling without leadership; close members of my family are sick and others are unable to find a place to live; friends not able to find work… The list of worries large and small goes on. Yet Jesus also goes on in John 16 … “But take heart for I have overcome the world”.
I don’t know what quite this means for people in Ukraine at the moment, but I do take heart from the defiant acts of hope in that country. For example, last week Jews and Christians came together in Kyiv to recite Psalm 31:
In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me… … Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.
The Deputy General Secretary for the Bible Society, Anatoliy Raychnets, said: “This ancient prayer – written several thousand years ago – now we see is so alive, so living.”
I can learn from their example. It makes we think:
Where am I taking refuge?
What or who am I making my rock and fortress?