I’m sure everyone has seen what has been going on in the Ukraine over the last few weeks. Honestly, it would be difficult not to have heard something at this point. Slowly we have started seeing images of suffering and death, and I can almost guarantee you that this is only the beginning.  We are going to see a great deal more suffering.  Inevitably the question that will come up, how can a loving God allow this to happen?  My reply to this is that He doesn’t.

God gives us free will, and our free will leads to this. What we see going on wasn’t God’s original plan. If we go all the way back to the garden, we see a perfect place. Not only did man live in peace, but even the animals didn’t hurt each other. When man sinned, this was no longer God’s perfect plan.  So, when I look at what is happening in the Ukraine, I see the evilness of man toward man. I see Cain and Abel all over again, I see man’s need for power, and I see man’s greed and arrogance. Mostly though, I see the common person stuck between two bullies wanting a bigger piece of the pie.  No matter how many times God has offered us a way out, we keep going back to our old ways, like in Proverbs 26:11, “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.”

However, God is a God of redemption. Even when man messes up the plan, God offers a path of redemption, a chance to change our ways, and an opportunity to move back toward him. For Adam and Eve, it was Seth and ultimately our redeemer Christ.  So, in the messed-up world that we live in now, where is our redemption?  What is the plan?  Our redemption is Christ.

The new plan is living with Christ in us as stated in Colossians 1:27-29, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.”

So what does it mean to live with Christ in us?  It means that with the Holy Spirit, we become like Christ. We do what Christ would do if He was still here in the flesh on earth. This means that we live His life. If there are sick, then we take care of them. If there are hungry, we feed them. If there are weak, we defend them. The Bible says in Mathew 25:35-36, “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat.  I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink.  I was a stranger, and you invited me in. I needed clothes, and you clothed me.  I was sick, and you looked after me.  I was in prison, and you came to visit me.”

This is the new plan. Even though evil entered into the world, God also sent His son as a redeemer; however, He didn’t just come to redeem us, He also came to bring light back into the world.  Mathew 8:16 says, “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.”

Where there is light, it must contend with the darkness. Christianity is the counter to man’s fallen nature. Man looks to survival, greed, lust, and power. Man is only focused inward. Disciples focus outward.  We look not towards ourselves but towards God and His redemption of all that will believe in Him.  Therefore, if we walk in His path, we must contend with the darkness as Christ did. Where there are hungry, we must feed not just the body but the soul.  Where there are weak, we must defend them physically and spiritually.  If we walk in His new plan, we shine through the darkness so that others will glorify God and walk in His path.  In closing, I leave you with John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

— Written by Jeremiah