The Land of Deep Darkness
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2
Ukraine is a country that has been plunged into deep, deep darkness. We are those people walking in darkness, living in a land of great darkness.
On February 24, 2022 when Russia began dropping bombs on cities all over the country we were immediately plunged into a great darkness. I remember a couple of days into the war when everyone realized that the rest of the world wasn’t sending troops to help. I remember the feelings that came with that realization: horror, disbelief, shock, anger, and isolation. Complete and utter isolation. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that feeling that we had in those early days, the feeling of being forgotten and abandoned by the rest of the world. Darkness. I saw a photo of air traffic flight patterns on February 25th and the emptiness that was Ukraine stood out like a sore thumb on the map. Cut off from the world, plunged into darkness, isolated, and under attack. So very vulnerable, our dear Ukraine.
But over the months Ukraine has risen above and shown herself strong, undefeatable. The Ukrainian military has made a laughing stock of Russia’s war machine and huge fans of us all. Their bravery, wisdom, and strength will never be forgotten.
Because Russia can’t seem to win on the battlefield they have taken to plunging Ukraine into another kind of darkness- a literal one. They have been consistently attacking Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and have cast a literal darkness over much of the country. The lights have gone out all over Ukraine and we are truly “living in a land of great darkness.” But, like in Isaiah, there is more to the story. A light is coming.
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” Isaiah 9:1-7
In this season of Advent, of waiting for Christmas, waiting to celebrate the first coming of Christ, we also eagerly and actively wait for Christ to come again. We cry out for his presence to fill us, to heal our land, and to make wrong things right. We pray for justice to flow and for the yokes that burden Ukraine to be shattered. We call for the Prince of Peace to rule and reign in this land.
It is a dark time in Ukraine, spiritually and physically, but we can see how God is with us even in the dark. The absence of light pollution allows the stars to break through in all their glory. The utter and absolute darkness of our village at night brings a hush to our homes and our hearts. The lack of electricity in the day teaches us flexibility, teamwork, how to conserve, and how to pivot our plans on a dime. The lack of electricity in the evening causes us to slow down, to be quiet, and to appreciate candlelight and headlamps in a new way. 😉
There is no doubt that many people in Ukraine are suffering incredibly during this time of darkness. Thankfully, it seems our power outages on the Homestead are briefer than most, so I do not want to romanticize the suffering of others. It is truly devastating, what is happening right now in our country. But I can only speak to my own life, my own little Homestead, which is more than enough to consume my heart, mind, and body. And I can tell you that although the immediate future looks dim, we are not a people without hope. We believe in God’s good character and we remember all He has done and is doing. Therefore, we have hope for the future. We believe a time will come when Ukraine will be truly free. We believe a time will come when a free Ukraine will value every one of its citizens and our friends with disabilities will live with dignity in the country of their birth. We believe that our God can do the impossible because we see him doing it every single day. When our boys laugh and sing and hug we see God’s redeeming, healing hand at work, his Kingdom breaking through into the present. Now we wait for him to redeem and heal our land. We call out for justice to flow like a river and for His Kingdom to break through all over precious Ukraine.
Come, Lord Jesus. Come and make wrong things right. Bring your light into this dark place.
FYI, the Wide Awake Podcast is back up and running. You can find it wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. This week we recorded an Advent episode about Hope and Peace. I hope it is an encouragement to you as you prepare your heart for Christmas. ❤️