All of us have been touched by the tragic stories coming out of Ukraine. It is heartbreaking to watch the daily horror stories we now see. News of the maternity hospital bombing in Mariupol last week is especially appalling.
As of March 13, an estimated 85 children have been killed with 100 more wounded. According to the United Nations there have been 1,600 civilian casualties. The numbers are undoubtedly much higher, and these numbers do not include Ukrainian soldiers injured and killed defending their homeland. About 2.8 million of the 44 million Ukrainians have fled their country since the war began, and many of those remaining are displaced and without shelter.
Our hearts go out to the Ukrainians, but most of us do not know how to help. We are 5,500 miles away, and very few of us know anyone living there. Many of us want to do something, but what can we do? Here are some suggestions:
Find a reputable charity helping Ukrainians. For example, donate to the Red Cross for Ukraine at www.redcross.org/donate/cm/abc.html. My church is Southern Baptist, and there are over 2,800 Baptist churches in Ukraine. To help Ukraine through the SBC donate at, www.imb.org/ukraine. If you are Catholic, donate to Catholic Relief services at, www.support.crs.org/donate/donate-ukraine. If you prefer to give to a non-denominational Christian organization, consider Samaritan’s Purse at www.samaritanspurse.org/our-ministry/ukraine-response.
Giving not only helps Ukrainians, it also pleases God. Scripture puts it this way, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress…” (James 1:27, NLT) While James specifically speaks of helping widows and orphans, the larger point is for us to care for desperate people who cannot help themselves. This certainly applies to Ukraine.
Second, all of us can pray. The Apostle Paul described our responsibility this way, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf…” (1 Timothy 2:1, NLT) All of us should be asking God to help the desperate Ukrainian people.
Third, pray for the world leaders managing this crisis. The very next verse says we are to, “Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.” ( I Timothy 2:2, NLT)
Regardless of our political leanings, we should pray for President Biden and the leaders of both parties. We should also pray for Vladimir Putin. It is his reckless attack on innocent Ukrainians which is making quiet lives impossible for millions and threatening world peace. I am convinced God can change Putin’s heart. He may use circumstances and world leaders to do just that.
Finally, each of us can give something and all of us can pray. Please join me in doing both today.