David French, New York Times writer, took a trip to Kiev, Ukraine in May 2023. The experience changed his life. He received “a dose of perspective that I didn’t know I needed.”
Perspective is as good as smelling salts.
15 months ago, Russian aggression took on a new form of evil with the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Throughout this war, the unshakeable resilience of the Ukrainian people is on display. Ironically, some politicians and social media influencers have advanced the narrative that Ukraine is the villain and Putin is the champion of Christian values.
The invasion caused the greatest humanitarian crisis in Europe since the Second World War. Ukrainian cities leveled. Terror attacks. The UN estimates 26,000 civilian casualties. The estimate is likely low. 354,000 Ukrainian and Russian troops were killed or injured as of April 2023. Europe’s deadliest conflict since WW2 is projected to last well beyond 2023.
French provided an eyewitness account of the atrocities, including what it is like to survive the terror of a hypersonic missile attack by the Russians. He talked about the physical, emotional, and spiritual toll of the war on the Ukrainian people and Russian war crimes. French said he came back different. Not just with different thoughts but different in his being. His time in Ukraine reminded him about standing guard against evil. Listen to his story on the Good Faith podcast.
The closest I came to David’s experience resulted from short-term mission trips to Siberia, Zimbabwe, and Thailand.
The people we encountered shape us to this day. We’re vigilant about gratitude and stress less over our perceived hardships. And we treasure cold, clean, fresh water.
In 2003 when Jocelyn and I returned home from visiting HIV/AIDS orphanages in Africa I made a remark on a Sunday about worship. How our biggest battles are over hymns or choruses while African children battle poverty and death. Someone took to me to task because “worship is our battle.” I got it. I get it now. It’s whats in front of us that matters. Maybe we should get some different stuff in front of us.
Perspective completely trivializes some of our cultural battles. Who’s angry at who, who’s being cancelled. Why is there an online protest about Bud Lite and t-shirts stocked at Target.
We may be so far removed in Wildrose country that we’re oblivious to the historic impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the massive suffering as a result. This war will be talked about in 100 years from now. And we are only on the leading edge of the outcomes. The war is the most consequential thing happening in the world today. Alberta is not beyond the ripples.
There is evil in this world. Pondering the reality of the Ukraine war can give us better perspective.
To stand guard against evil is an absolutely, underappreciated aspect of Christian values.
All of us could use a dose of perspective that we didn’t know we needed.
What are your thoughts about the Russian invasion of Ukraine? Please join the conversation and post a comment below.
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