Bullies make me angry. People who use power or position to push others around are despicable. We’ve probably all come across bullies: when we were kids, or perhaps in the workplace. Few things get my blood boiling more than a bully. I’ve learned to control my temper (mostly) and generally face the ups-and-downs of life with a positive attitude and faith in the ultimate justice and mercy of God.
I am convinced that God alone has ultimate power and authority over humanity: God who is Love is also the ultimate Judge. Christianity has faced opposition and persecution since the time of Jesus- and He said this: “Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life – body and soul – in his hands.” (Matthew 10 v28 in the Message translation)
It is a call to trust God when it matters most. The Early Church outlasted the Roman persecution with a cry on their lips: “Maranatha! – Come quickly, Lord!”
Ukraine is facing a tragedy as the conflict with the Russian armies escalates. Our concern and prayers are important; for us at this stage the threat is more distant, but we cannot ignore naked aggression. Indeed, we are commanded to “love enemies.” How we do that without being “doormats” has always been a debate- and we all have to reach a position where our conscience before God is clear, whatever the consequences of that may be.
The bullies may hound us, even kill us: but they can’t touch our soul, our “core being” that is who we ultimately are. War may spread. Violence may flash into flame anywhere. There is not much we can do about that (other than encourage our own political authorities to act wisely and in justice).
All round the globe, the lions roar and the wolves gather: the Russian bear is snarling and savagely attacking. Yet history is full of the rise and fall of empires. Many nations have had time in the spotlight. None remain there permanently- the only permanent Kingdom will be that of God Almighty. This crisis will run its course for better or worse, and it will end eventually. Putin will be going the way of all flesh… and will face the Lord as Judge if he won’t turn to God as Lord and Saviour. That is in God’s hands, His alone: when all else is said and done, God will face the bullies- and will not fail.
So we should pray for the innocent, for the victims and the grieving, and for those who are trying to lead a response to the crisis: and take whatever practical compassionate action we can. And we should pray for peace, for healing and reconciliation, and even for the aggressors. The best words I can think of come from the Lord’s Prayer: “Let Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
May God be God, Sovereign Ruler, Rescuer, and Righteousness: and may evil perish. May God’s peace keep us secure in trusting, and God’s Spirit aid us in our prayers. Maranatha! Come soon, Lord Jesus.