Thursday 23rd June 2022
Written by Alison Bentley

When I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, we were living in a basement.
 
Thousands of people across Ukraine have also been living in basements, cellars or underground bunkers, in fear of death without daylight, power or water. Under bombardment and gunfire, they dare not emerge above ground in search of food or medicines. Most are women, children and the elderly, many of whom are separated from family members who may be fighting for their country. No wonder so many are deeply traumatised by what they are living through!
 
I was struck by a report in which Katerina, who left Mariupol in a civilian evacuation, described living for weeks with her two children beneath the Azovstal steelworks: ‘‘Bombing at the plant at times was so heavy it felt like the bunker walls were moving”.
 
I wonder if we are hearing news like this with the degree of shock, anger and horror of the early days of this war? Have we become inured to it, accepted it as sad, but beyond our ability to help? Are we experiencing what the Prime Minister this weekend called ‘Ukraine fatigue’?
 
Have we forgotten to pray for Ukraine, its people and its leaders? Let’s all persevere in praying – for a just solution; for wisdom to prevail; for the bereaved and devastated to be comforted; for the injured and traumatised to be well treated and experience healing; for the homeless and stateless to be welcomed and restored. Pray for this war to end soon. It’s beyond us, but it’s not beyond God.
 
As I considered the situation, I was struck by the contrast with our living conditions.  We were living in a warm, well-ventilated, light and airy basement in the home of our family in the USA. We had a comfortable guest bedroom, bathroom and comfy seating area and were surrounded by children’s toys and other evidence of our family’s presence. The noises we heard from above were happy ones – people scurrying along or the skipping of children’s feet. Most crucially, we could leave our basement safely and freely. The contrast with what we hear from Ukraine could not be greater.
 
I feel deep gratitude for our situation and give thanks for God’s many blessings.
Psalm 107:1 comes to mind: ‘Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever’. May those suffering in Ukraine and in other troubled places in our world know the goodness and enduring love of God.
 
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