The closest I’ve come to experiencing war is in front of the TV. I remember it vividly. The sky over Baghdad lit up like a Christmas tree. The images and potential escalation of the war in Iraq gave everyone anxiety. So, we carried with us the burden of war. But this is different than living a war. I still went to class. I still drank coffee and did my laundry. I even ate three or more meals per day. Since then, there have been other conflicts, like Afghanistan. Guess what? My life didn’t change for that either. That’s how I know war.
What if it were different? How would you feel if enemy tanks had just crossed our border? What would happen if missiles were rocketing overhead in search of a target nearby? Yes, my life would change and so would my conversation with God.
I would turn quickly from “thank you for protecting us,” to “what are you doing?!” I would question how God could allow an invasion from such vile people. In today’s reading of Psalm. 79, the author is describing the Babylonian’s invasion of Jerusalem. Here, the Babylonians, the most pagan, vile culture to ever live overtook God’s country. Remember, Jerusalem was the Promised Land. It was given to the Jewish people, by God himself so that they could live in harmony with him, forever.
Notice that the Psalmist quickly turns from “oh, no!” to “save us.” Getting there requires that we remember God is God. He knows all of this. He controls all of this. He can “make himself known and avenge the outpoured blood of his servants” (v10). The Psalmist pleads with God for his intervention. More importantly, the Psalmist is faithful that God will come to their rescue.
As I write today, Ukraine fills my heart. I cannot help but see it parallel to this story. Would you join me in praying this Psalm for Ukraine? Take a moment to re-read the Psalm and replace the word Jerusalem with Ukraine.