Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow

The war in Ukraine continues to claim many lives every day. The battle for the city of Bakhmut began in September 2022 and still hangs in the balance. Since the fighting began 90% of the population has fled the city and between 20,000 and 30,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded. Ukrainian casualties are not known, but there are many. The United Nations reports that, since the Russian invasion began, at least 8,000 ordinary citizens have been killed and more than 13,000 injured. The determination of the Ukrainian people to defend their country is remarkable.

Where do they find the strength to face the deprivation and suffering of the war? For many it is through their faith in God. It is a tragic fact that the Russian Orthodox Church is backing the Russian atrocities. It is never a good thing when churches get deeply involved with the State. But ordinary Ukrainian people are finding strength in God’s Word, the Bible. The demand for Bibles has multiplied exponentially in Ukraine since the vicious Russian invasion began.

Some national church leaders are comparing the situation to that of immediate post-Communist days, when there was a significant and strong spiritual movement, resulting in many conversions to Christ. The Ukrainian Bible Society reports that in the first nine months of 2022, more than 359,000 Bibles were given out – at least two and a half times more than the number distributed in 2020. The trauma of the war, far from setting many hearts against God, has in fact created a desire in many thousands to know God and the nearness of his presence.

In the last six months a Christian literature factory operating in West Ukraine has printed 100,000 New Testaments for adults, 100,000 New Testaments for children, and various pieces of Christian literature. In addition, 50,000 pocket-sized gospel booklets have been prepared for distribution to the Ukrainian military. Pastors, evangelists, and Christian workers have travelled thousands of miles along difficult and dangerous roads, giving no thought to their own safety, to put the Word of God into waiting hands, and bring spiritual food to those who are hungry for God and his truth.

The Bible is the best-selling book in the world but, sadly, often remains unread. Through the words of the Bible God speaks to our hearts. As they read the Bible Ukrainian people are finding strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Why not get a Bible and read it? Good places to start reading are the book of Psalms and one of the Gospels that tell us about Jesus.

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