A lament for Ukraine

in the style of a Psalm

O Lord, You are enthroned in heaven, and You alone are God. The scriptures tell us that you laugh at man’s pitiful attempts to deify himself. They tell us, too, of Your compassion for the needy, the downtrodden, the oppressed. And of Your ‘very present help in trouble’.

The needless suffering in Ukraine fills our hearts with pain day after day. One man, with passions fuelled by his arrogance and flagrant lies, is on a mission to destroy a nation and its national identity. A never-ending battery of assault by missiles, indiscriminately firing towards civilian as well as military targets. Whole towns reduced, block by block, to rubble, citizens cowering underneath in freezing basements. Millions of desperate refugees with haggard, haunted faces survive day-long car queues or are crushed into railway carriages, fleeing to neighbouring countries. Others trudge through the sleet with battered suitcases just hoping someone will take them in. We watch helplessly as, day by day, the horror, insanity and injustice of this invasion unfolds. Are you helpless, too, Lord?

The scriptures hold countless examples of Your wonderful deliverance, often when situations appear hopeless. The Red Sea crossing. Gideon’s tiny army putting the Midianites to flight. David and Goliath. Jehoshaphat’s army of praise. Lord, we don’t believe You have changed. You can stretch out Your hand to save, today as ever. You are our mighty deliverer, our rock, our hiding place. And, you trained David’s hands for battle, arming him with strength and making his way perfect.

O Lord, stretch out Your hand over Ukraine and Russia. Confound the Russian war machine. Throw it into confusion. Break the iron conspiracy of lies that justifies this invasion as liberation. Set the generals at odds with each other and cause them to rise up against their leader. Embolden the Ukrainian defenders; may they gain in strength day by day as they overcome impossible odds. Bring about remarkable answers to prayer in battle, in healing the wounded and the sick, in escaping danger, and in acts of courage and compassion. Raise the spirits of Ukrainian believers, both those remaining and those living as refugees, so they fall back on the bedrock of their faith. And Lord, it isn’t our wish that Russia should be crushed; rather, that this crisis will eventually lead to a safer, fairer world, with open doors for the Gospel and for the building of Your kingdom.

Jesus Christ, You are Alpha and Omega. You are before all things, and in You all things hold together. Ultimately, we entrust ourselves and the Ukraine to You. You are Lord.

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