Strange Times

The following is an excerpt from my recent newsletter.  If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter, you can click on the subscription request underneath my photo on the sidebar and add your email.  Thanks!

It’s been a tumultuous nine months and it looks like it’s not going to calm down any time soon.  We had a ceasefire today between Russia and Ukraine that lasted a couple of hours before Russia stated that they can’t agree to a ceasefire since they are not fighting.  Uhm…..okay.  The truth is, Russia has invaded Ukraine and we are receiving reports right now that the Russian air force is bombing a town north of Lugansk.

How does one live during a war?  How does one grapple with the life and death that surrounds you when the world gets turned upside down.  I know from talking to my friends in the states and other parts of the world that everyone is asking these questions and feeling the stress of unstable times.

For me, the last couple of years have been a greater walk of faith than I’ve ever experienced before.  I am astounded at how God has met my needs and continues to direct and open doors in ways that I could never have conceived.

A few years ago when I was going through some tough ministry problems, my pastor said to me, “His yoke is easy and his burden is light.”  At that moment I thought, “I don’t know……I just don’t know……Pastor Dave has never been to Ukraine…..”  (You can laugh here if you want, it’s funny to me.)  At the time of the conversation, I was not convinced, but what my pastor said kept going through my mind.  I knew that he was sharing Jesus’ words (Matt 11:29,30)  to all of us and it doesn’t matter where we are living.  I knew that somehow, I had to understand how this verse could possibly be applied to my frazzled life.

Two months later I was reading a book and the author wrote, “Jesus said, ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light.’  You have to believe that.”  The light bulb clicked on…..I was hearing the words but not believing that they were true for me in my situation.  I realized that I was letting the problems I had in my life overwhelm me emotionally to the point that I wasn’t really receiving what the word of God was saying to me and what I needed to believe.

It’s important when we go through challenging times to remember that God and his word has to come first and we cannot let our emotions overwhelm our vision of the reality around us.  (“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  Proverbs 29:18)  This is very hard.  It takes self discipline.  I still struggle with this. I’m not for a minute going to tell you this is easy.

Despite a revolution and war, ministry goes on because this is where God has me right now.  Some of that ministry is difficult because I’m ministering to people suffering because of the war, some of it is just simply continuing to feed the babas at my market.  Life doesn’t stop in a war or in unstable times.  People still need hope and love in their lives.  We need to continue to hold on to our hope so that we can share the light of God’s love to others still sitting in the darkness.  His yoke is easy and his burden is light.  He will lead us through the craziness around us if we keep it simple and trust him.

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