Images of the war raging in Ukraine seem to be everywhere. They clearly demonstrate the unthinkable horrors of war. Lives are being lost, families are being violently torn apart, and entire cities are being utterly destroyed. The same can be said for Syria and numerous other conflict zones.
It’s estimated that more than four million citizens have evacuated from Ukraine since February 24, 2022. As they cross borders into relative peace and freedom, the relief on their faces is evident. Even though many have no idea where they’re headed or what will become of those they were forced to leave behind, sometimes the joy experienced as they cross into freedom cannot be contained.
Even as we pray for these evacuees, for the brave individuals left to defend Ukraine, and for those experiencing similar circumstances elsewhere, the horrors of war we are witnessing from a distance should remind us of the blessings we have at home. It’s true, no matter where you live there are troubles. The United States and other western nations are facing serious political, economic, and social issues at the moment. And yet, in comparison to the horrors of war, most of us have a great deal for which to be thankful.
The same can be said in a spiritual sense. Consider these words from Colossians 1:3-5 and 13-14 (ESV):
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven… He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The evil plainly seen in images of physical warfare can in some ways give us insight into what takes place in the unseen spiritual realm. Those who genuinely trust in Christ for salvation have been freed from the “domain of darkness” as is made clear in the passage above. If we had the ability to see what the domain of darkness looks like spiritually, it would likely resemble the images of physical warfare that are so difficult for us to view.
The joy seen on the faces of those who’ve reached freedom from war in Ukraine is but a foreshadowing of the joy that will be experienced by those who trust in Jesus and thus will be welcomed into God’s Kingdom after this life. Even now, in the midst of the world’s evil and turmoil, the degree of joy and peace available to Christ followers is spoken of in Philippians 4:7 as “surpassing all understanding.” In other words, the peace available to us now is so deep that we cannot comprehend or attempt to explain it. This being the case, one can hardly hope to at this time understand the joy and peace that will be experienced by Christ followers in heaven.
The amazing thing is that the spiritual freedom, the hope, the joy, the peace, and the deliverance spoken of throughout the Bible is available to anyone, anywhere. If we only had eyes to see the unseen spiritual realm, who would reject God’s offer of salvation through Christ? Who would choose evil, destruction, and bondage over glory, freedom, and eternal joy?
Whether we find ourselves in the midst of war, a refugee from it, or living a relatively comfortable life in a safe place, let’s ask God to open our eyes to the spiritual reality that surrounds us. Let’s ask him to pull back the veil, so to speak, so that we can see our need for him and thus place our faith and trust in Jesus for salvation. Jeremiah 33:2-3 (ESV) says the following:
Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it – the Lord is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
Lord, help us to glimpse the unseen enough to comprehend the difference between the domain of darkness and your glorious kingdom of light. Let us do so in the name of Jesus who died so that we can live. And let us place our faith in Jesus and thus be reconciled to you forever. Amen.