Recently our Regional Director for Euro-Asia, Taras Dyatlik, shared this devotional with the team at our Indianapolis headquarters. While the context from which he shared is the ongoing conflict in his home of Eastern Ukraine, we pray this message encourages your heart no matter what circumstances you find yourself in.
Philippians 4:6-13 (NIV)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
As I reflect on the essence of theological education, how and why we prepare church leaders in Eastern Ukraine in the midst of conflict between two nations and the hidden conflict between Ukrainian and Russian churches…
- It is impossible to assess the real taste of bread, not knowing the state of hunger.
- It is impossible to appreciate the taste of cold spring water, not knowing the state of thirst.
- It is impossible to appreciate the joy of dawn, not knowing what a nightmare and a sleepless night are.
- It is impossible to assess the bliss of rest, without knowing what deadly exhausting labor is.
- It is impossible to appreciate the joy of meeting without knowing the sadness of farewell.
- It is impossible to know the power of forgiveness, not realizing the depth of the fall.
- It is impossible to appreciate the joy of the peace, not realizing the horrors of war.
- It is impossible to assess the yearn for life, without looking in the eyes of death.
- It is impossible to know the power of unity, not knowing the tragedy of separation.
- It is impossible to know the imputed righteousness of Christ without realizing our inability to live righteously without the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- It is impossible to live a godly life in Christ without renouncing ourselves and without allowing Christ to live in us and through us.
- It is impossible to know the power of the Cross of Christ and the blood of Christ without taking and carrying our cross, without fighting against sin unto blood.
- It is impossible to know the power of prayer without realizing our absolute dependence on Christ.
- It is impossible to be the salt of Christ on Earth without realizing the depth of moral decay without Christ.
- It is impossible to be the light of Christ in the world without knowing the doom and despair in a sinful darkness without Christ.
When my soul leaves its mortal body, I would like to say with Christ and many saints who have moved to the shores of the Heavens: I will know the joy of the resurrection, through knowing the fear and tremble in the gates of death.