I was adopted when just a few months old. My birth mother’s parents had migrated to Canada from the Ukraine. I’ve known this for many years now, but as of late, due to what is currently transpiring in the Ukraine, for some unknown reason, what is happening, has hit me hard. It’s difficult to explain. It seems almost like a layer upon another layer has been laid before me.
Covid 19 and all the implications that has arisen from that reality, especially within the Christian Church, has also weighed on me heavily. Uncertainty on how to react, has been a hallmark, at least with me. And the layers are there too, over lapping, intertwined, creating a quagmire of decension and much discord.
I can recall, from my days in the Royal Canadian Navy, being in a storm at sea and walking down a gangway within the warship, being tossed from one gangway bulkhead to another, as I proceeded from point A to point B. That’s what it feels like, being tossed to and fro, at the mercy of forces greater than I.
Ephesians 6:10-13 NASB reads as follows:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”
It’s one thing to be mindful of the realities of the spiritual forces of wickedness at play, and the weapons that we have to fight them, but entirely another to be increasingly subjected to the realties of those world forces of darkness, among us. And to be candid with you, there are times when I have a difficult time, sorting it all out.
I can’t help but admire the determination and willingness of the Ukrainian people, their oneness of heart, to sacrifice themselves and fight against superior numbers of personnel and armament, to retain the liberties that they chose to pursue. The process against them has been methodical and likewise determined, yet in spite of unfavourable odds, they fight to remain free.
And the thought crosses my mind, why hasn’t the Christian Church of Jesus Christ done the same thing? What spiritual liberties have we relinquished in order to achieve our own perception of victory? What methods have we employed to replace the Great Commission of Christ? And where is our solidarity with and between one another against the formidable foe?
Matthew 24:3-14 NASB reads as follows:
“And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many people. And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pains.
“Then they will hand you over to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. And at that time many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will rise up and mislead many people. And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will become cold. But the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
Many will be mislead. Wars and rumors of wars. Nation against nation. Kingdom against kingdom. Famines and earthquakes. Tribulation and hatred. Many will fall away. False prophets and increased lawlessness (sin). Love will grow cold.
And when does all of this worldly orientated turmoil come to an end?
When this gospel of the kingdom is preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations. You’d think that this would be the prime objective of the Church of Jesus Christ, to get this gospel out there wouldn’t you? Is there a tie in here, with the Great Commission that Jesus gave us, to further His Kingdom? I’d say there is.
But we know better, don’t we? We have found our own ways and worked it all out with our own thoughts. Ideology and manipulated politics can achieve what the Church failed at, military power and might will prevail over all. And how is that working out for us? And correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t that the same game plan of our opposition? Kind of puts a whole new spin on “being in the world, but not of the world”, doesn’t it?
I envy the oneness of heart and the willingness to sacrifice of themselves, that the Ukrainian people display. They stand shoulder to shoulder, united in cause. I wish we had that same oneness of heart and willingness in our Church, in spite of the visually overwhelming numbers and formidable forces we face and that our hallmark was “behold, how they love one another”, in truth and in spirit.
But Jesus knew where we would be heading, didn’t He? Hence the “wars and rumors of wars” and the “evil day” that we are now in. Contrasted with Paul’s admonition to “be strong in the Lord and the power of His might”.
So I may be still bouncing off the bulkheads at times, but I’m still heading from where I was (point A), trusting in me, to where Jesus asks me to be (point B), trusting in Him, simplistic as it may sound, while this storm unfolds before me. Jesus is the only rock we have.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!