Like most people, I take many things for granted, including the heating and air conditioning I enjoy year-round. Most of the time I am NOT thinking about people, say, in Ukraine who will be facing a winter without heat. Yesterday a friend in Ukraine sent along this report: "The government advises Ukrainians to leave the country for 3-4 months if possible.... The damaged energy infrastructure is not able to produce enough electricity to meet current needs, so any way to reduce consumption, including leaving the country, is seen as helping Ukraine. We expect a new wave of refugees from Ukraine to surrounding countries." Winter is here and it's going to be a matter of, frankly, survival for many. SEND International is currently making a special appeal to specifically provide wood and coal burning stoves for Ukrainians. I commend this effort.
Please pray for Ukraine. Please pray for the preservation of life during the winter months. Please pray that we in the West might be a source of comfort, hope, and truth for those in Ukraine. Please ask God to show you if you are to join me in giving to this project.
This morning I am huddled in a warm house enjoying perfect temperatures but painstakingly aware that others cannot. As you know, my blog is not a forum for arguing political viewpoints or attacking me or others. I don't like Twitter and don't use it. Just not my thing. I don't know what the political solution is to the war in Ukraine -- please don't make this that debate. I mean, we're talking about survival here. Today my thoughts are with the people of Ukraine. Here I am about to speak in a church during one of my three trips to Ukraine.
The enormity of what my friends there are facing is incomprehensible. WHY? WHY? WHY does this stuff happen? How do we make sense of it? Today I will get out of my head and live from my heart. I will go out for my run with the intention of becoming a better person and to see the gifts all around me and to love every minute of the precious people in my life. I will do what I can for Ukrainians. It won't be much but it won't be nothing either. And to all my friends in Odessa and Mykolaiv and Kherson etc: Our hearts continue to break for you, your families, and your communities. We've heard it a thousand times: "Focus on the good and be grateful for what you do have." I know that sounds like a cliché but it's got so much truth in it. When faced with tough times, we all go through despair initially. But it's up to us how long we stay there. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul tells us how he faced a major test in his own life. I call it the test of the mysterious. The test of the mysterious is when we undergo inexplicable trials, those thorns that God does not remove. But in the depths of the mysterious we may be driven by desperation to meet God in our extremity. He becomes the source and object of our joy. That joy is fuzzier and harder to find than at other times, but it's there.
Anyway, just know that I love you and am praying for you.