As the world knows, Ukraine was invaded on Thursday, Feb. 24, as Russia made the move to topple its young and somewhat fragile democracy and install a Russian puppet government loyal to Vladimir Putin. I can no longer pray, only beg.
Everyone expected Ukraine to fall quickly, likely within 24 hours, 48 at the most. Now, more than a hundred hours in, Ukraine has, by virtue of guts and grit and the amazing leadership shown by their young and untested president, held on. The vast majority of the world is rallying around them, placing sanction after sanction on Russia, sending in arms, artillery, and massive amounts of aid.
We have awoken to the nightmare of what one man, who has nothing to lose but has all power necessary to destroy the entire world, can and may do.
Anyone who is thinking very hard about this should be terrified.
The Vladimir Putin’s of the world are nothing new. Unaccountable dictators, either already insane or right on the verge of it, have long unleashed their destructive inner souls in desperate attempts to keep power.
Putin, a little man with an indiscernible soul, dictator of a giant landmass with an economy only about the size of one state, Texas, wants to secure his seat at the big boy table. And he has every intention of doing so despite a horrific cost of life and, now, the likelihood of the destruction of the Russian economy.
The difference between his man and his evil predecessors: he has the tools to bring about the end of life as we know it.
I am out of prayers, even as I never stop begging God for some way to stop this madman from proceeding. I sit in the heartland of the US, likely about as safe a position as anyone, but it is not my safety I fear for.
Instead, my heart breaks in agony for the innocents already murdered by the unchecked ambitions of this truly despicable man. I have relatives in Europe and they have friends in both Russia and Ukraine. Let us face it: in our totally connected world, the murder of one innocent affects us all. The rape and destruction of one nation threaten us all. We cannot ignore this.
And, let us never forget, this sad little man whose hand hovers above the button that can start a nuclear war still retains the approval and approbation of the man who is determined to take back the Presidency of the US, the “former guy,” 45, whatever one wants to call him. I call him, “traitor.” But, he too has lived his life with unchecked ambitions, so his beaming approval of Mr. Putin should come as no surprise.
And therein is the issue: If Christianity, the following of Jesus, has any meaning at all, it must, at its core mean the voluntary relinquishment of unchecked power over others. That is the way of the cross, the only possible redemption of the world.
I’m not saying there is not a place for powerful people. Of course, there is. What we must stop making room for is unchecked power, be it in politics, the church, the family, or any other possible shape of human organization.
Assuming we survive this, and I am not speaking hyperbolically here, we all need to take a step back and pay better attention to those to whom we give power and authority over others.
On this Ukraine Day Five, we have been given a wake-up call. Let us not roll over and go back to sleep.