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Mentally Managing the Ukraine Crisis

March 7, 2022

Last week, I met for lunch with a good friend from Ukraine. His family moved from Ukraine to the United States in 1992. 'Vlad' was 11 years old. My friend’s name is Vladimir Prosperity. With financial help from an American relief program for those worldwide who are persecuted for their religion, they came to America. Their religion was Christianity. 

‘Vlad’ grew up in the Northwest part of America. He started in sixth grade in an American school. Eventually, He married a Ukrainian wife, and they now have six children. They own a construction company in Glendale, Arizona named Dynamite, Inc. Like any family, they have their challenges. Still, their faith in Jesus Christ and their determination and character have taken them from the ‘outhouse’ to the ‘penthouse,’ at least by Ukrainian standards. That’s the American dream.   

I wanted to hear firsthand from 'Vlad' about what was going on in Ukraine at this time. His first comment was, “We are praying.” I thought to myself, “That’s a great place to start.” He told me true stories about the bravery and resistance of many Ukrainians, some of which you may have seen on the news. But with 40 miles of tanks, trucks, and Russian soldiers bearing down on Kiev or Kyiv, the capital city, no one knows what will happen, at least at the time of this writing. In Ukraine, 'the gathering storm' has morphed to ‘into the darkness.’ 

Unless the Lord stops this conflict or Russia shoots itself in the foot because of logistical incompetency, the Russian war in Ukraine threatens to topple democratically elected governments. Furthermore, a Russian victory may result in a human tragedy for millions of Ukrainians. The confiscation of their money, assets, and wealth accumulated throughout a lifetime of labor may happen overnight. I saw you readers gulp at that statement. Me too! How would you like to deal with the emotional garbage of everything you worked for years going into some ‘dictator's gone wild’ pocket?

Isn’t it interesting how one man or woman in a strategic place can determine the fate of millions of people? Joseph Mattera wrote this about the power of one leader.  

“Some news outlets have reported that Putin has isolated himself and lives in his egocentric world. Many of Russia’s people disapprove of Putin’s actions as thousands have been protesting his attack on Ukraine. Putin is just another example of the power one leader can exert over their nation and the entire world. 

On a positive note, we could also see how one man or woman can positively impact millions of people. For example, Ukrainian president Zelensky's heroic stand against Russia inspires billions worldwide. I would not be surprised if Time magazine named him the person of the year for 2022.” 

Here’s a great illustration about the one person and the gathering storms of today’s world. It’s called Winning the Dorm Hall Battle by Jeff Etsch. He explains how to win a dorm hall battle in a university. 

"Someone would start a fight by throwing cold water on a hallmate headed to the bathroom, to class, or headed out on a Friday night date. It all started in good fun but then escalated quickly. As the hall divided among alliances, soon people emerged from their rooms, joining one side or the other or just participating in the mayhem for the sake of mayhem. All in good fun and everyone sticking to the rules of a water fight. Everyone, that is, except my roommate.

If Dave was around, things got interesting — quick. Dave was always willing to escalate to the point that no one else was. At first, this included introducing weaponry other than water. Next, ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard entered the fray. Then, when others followed suit, out came the BB-gun, and people ran for their rooms.

No one else would go to the BB-gun level, so Dave became king of the roost, and everyone knew it. His priority, after all, was winning. How? That was irrelevant. He escalated the fight to whatever level necessary to win. It was all about power and ruling the dormitory hall.

I love my college roommate, but I believe this vignette illustrates how the enemies of liberty operate today. They are willing to go quickly where lovers of liberty and the law-abiding citizens will not.”

Note: Dave worked with different principles, priorities, and purposes than the other dorm residents. Don’t expect the Davids of the world to go by international law or character core values. We should know this by now. Freedom does not mean ‘free to be dumb.’ With liberty comes responsibility. 

Why did Dave rule the roost? No one was willing to pay the price to say, “No, you can’t do that," and back it up with action. An Arabic Proverb says: They asked the Pharoah, “What made you a tyrant?” He said, “No one stopped me.” Thank God for the Ukrainians who didn’t roll over and say, “Whatever,” or “Where’s my safe space?” 

If you don’t fight for what you want, don’t cry for what you lost. 

So, how can we mentally manage the Ukrainian crisis? As the world shakes, realize you don’t need to shake. Pray for Ukraine for strength and protection. Pray for Ukraine’s President. God is in control. Realize that God is working for good behind the scenes for His purposes. God is revealing the intentions of the Daves of this world to all the world so we can see them for what they are.

Also, I encourage you to check your foundations. Foundations crack when the weight of a crisis increases. Jesus said, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock." (Mathew 7:24-27)

You see, it’s not the load that matters; it's how we carry it that matters. 

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Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
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