March 1, 2022
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Everything that has happened with Ukraine and Russia over the last week has felt heavy, and honestly, too challenging to discuss with my children. Where do I start? What do I really know? And what do I share and what do I not? But I am committed to having these challenging conversations with my children because I believe it shapes their worldview, prepares them to be critical thinkers, and informs their faith in God. Read my tips for why and how to have a discerning conversation with your children in age-appropriate and biblical ways here.
The Israelites were not unfamiliar with war. They were not unfamiliar with being the aggressor and not unfamiliar with being the victim in a conflict. From our vantage point in history, through the Bible, we know that God was using those Old Testament conflicts for His purposes. And that gives us peace, because we know who God is. Likewise, when a war breaks out in our modern-day history, we can take comfort in reminding ourselves that the same God is on the throne and in control. Yet, so often, we want to know the reason now, we want to know what God’s purpose is in it before history has even been written. In our humanity, we want to believe that the bloodshed, the destruction, and the loss of life and livelihoods has a purpose. But, we likely won’t know God’s purpose in it on this side of heaven. So, what should we do?
- We can remind ourselves of who God is: His character, His attributes, His nature.
- We can remind ourselves of what God has done: in the past, in our lives, in our world.
- We can remind ourselves of how God works: through sinful people, yet perfectly accomplishing His purpose.
As you talk to your children about what is happening between Russia and Ukraine, be sure to not focus on fear but on what we do know about God. And how God wants us to respond.
The Psalms can really help us know how to pray for our believing brothers and sisters in the Ukraine who are facing fear and uncertainty about their country’s future. Psalm 91 has been known in history as “the Soldier’s Psalm” so as your family gathers to pray for the conflict in Ukraine, open up to Psalm 91 and read it as you pray together.
- Pray for the believers in Ukraine who don’t know what to do and are afraid for their lives. May they “abide in the shadow of the Almighty” in Psalm 91:1-2, and say “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” May they remember who holds their lives in the palm of His hand.
- Pray for protection over the women and children in Ukraine, whose lives are in danger. May they turn to the God who loves them and wants to protect them like a mother bird. Pray Psalm 91:4 for them: “[that] He will cover [them] with his pinions, and under his wings [they] will find refuge; [may] his faithfulness [be] a shield and buckler.”
- Pray for the hearts of both Ukrainians and Russians to stand firm in God in the face of so much fear and uncertainty. Pray Psalm 91:5-7 that even when “terrors, arrows, pestilences, and plagues” come, they will be able to say, “I will not fear!”
- Pray for God’s Truth to be preached even more boldly as people search for real, lasting peace and hope amidst the conflict. May the love of Jesus still go out. Ukraine has been considered a largely Christian nation (72% of the population), so pray that they would “make the Most High [their] dwelling…[and] refuge” (Psalm 91:9) and trust that He is in control.
- Pray for the governments of both Russia and Ukraine (and the whole world watching!) to come to a peaceful agreement. Pray for an end to the violence. Pray for safety. Pray for justice. But, ultimately, ask God for His will to be done: “[for them to] call upon [Him]…that [God] will be with [them] in trouble.” (Psalm 91:15).
Don’t forget to end in worship! May I recommend Speak to the Mountains by Chris McClarney as you finish?
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