Faith, Priorities and Life — What Ukrainian Christians Have Taught Us

By Published on May 21, 2022

What we have heard and seen from our friends in Ukraine following the Russian invasion is that there is nothing like the reality of a life and death crisis to bring clarity around our priorities. While we know there is great suffering and hardship among the Ukrainian people right now, we’ve been amazed at how often they are seen smiling when their pictures are taken, even in the midst of war.

Added to this are the ongoing concerns about food shortages and famine in the next six months, with 30% of the fields in Ukraine — the breadbasket of the world — rendered unusable due to the war. How are these resilient people able to keep smiling and carrying on? We believe it is because they have confronted life’s big questions and understand that this world is not their eternal home. Ukrainians recognize that their hope is not dependent on human hands because they have placed their trust in the God who alone can save them.

A Spiritual Light in Eastern Europe

Ukraine has for many years been a spiritual light in Eastern Europe, and because of the influence of believers in that nation, the Gospel is spreading like wildfire. Requests for Ukrainian and Russian language Bibles from our Eastern European Mission ministry partners are off the charts, and are coming in from all over the world, including regions where refugees have sought shelter that we’ve never been able to reach before.

The Ukrainians have found that they were prepared for the storms of life, and so many of them are able to say with Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him.” (Job 13:15)

Another biblical passage, Habakkuk 3:16-19, seems as if it could have been prophetically written for Ukraine in 2022:

Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Going Back to the Source

Here in the U.S., however, as we face uncertain times with food shortages, inflation, and ongoing violence, will we be able to stand strong in our faith? Unfortunately, this might not be the case. Instead, we see mental health issues soaring, people trying to numb the pain with alcohol and drugs, and suicide rates climbing.

During these times that cause us to look at the bigger questions of life, many of us may discover that we are actually not sure of our faith. Might we find that we are putting our hope in our job, our money or our health? Does it take a tragedy to remind us where our stability and security originate? In the storm, can we say God is on his throne?

We might find that our foundation is built on shifting sand rather than the bedrock of truth. We need to go back to God, the source of our life and faith to get our footing back on solid ground again.

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Lifeway research has recently released a poll regarding the reason evangelical Christians don’t share their faith more. Among one of the top reasons — “I forget” — says a lot about our real spiritual condition. If our faith is truly our priority and the sustaining force in our lives, there is no way we would forget.

The Joy That is Waiting for Us

These recent national and international upheavals have reminded us all that life truly is a vapor, here for just a little while and then it vanishes away, as stated in James 4:14. This world is not our home, yet too many of us have made it so. While we have struggles, life is good. We get comfortable and complacent and don’t want to leave it behind.

We must remember and look forward to the joy that is waiting for us beyond this mist, the joy that is so evident on our Ukrainian friends’ faces despite the fog — or mist — of war. They are ready to face eternity, which is truly the only way to face even today.


Bob Burckle and Dirk Smith are President and Vice President, respectively, of Eastern European Mission, which has been delivering God’s Word to the people of Eastern Europe since 1961, now reaching 32 countries in 25 languages. They provided 1.5 million Bibles and Bible-based materials free of charge in the region in 2021, including in public schools in Croatia, Romania and Ukraine. Through their annual children’s Bible campaign, they seek to raise funds to provide 800,000 requested children’s Bibles in 19 languages. Learn more at

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Miracles in the Making
Susie Larson
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