If there is any beauty at all to be found in war, I certainly didn’t see it. And that’s how I felt when Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. I felt completely suffocated by blackness, and my righteous ire for the atrocities that we heard about on the news only fuelled that blackness, making it grow and expand until it completely swallowed everything of joy in my life.
Living in Canada, I suppose I was a lot less worried about myself than many across the globe,; but I was very, very worried for my remaining family in Belgium. My parents and my brother had all passed on, but I still had a number of cousins there. No, Belgium isn’t close to Ukraine, but it is Europe nonetheless, and in case of nuclear war … Well I shuttered to think of the possible outcomes of that …
My fear for my extended family drove me to do one positive thing: I began to try and reconnect with my cousins in Belgium. And to my utmost delight, a couple of them responded. I was especially excited to see the first email from my youngest cousin. She and I were close in age, and as a child, she had been my closest companion. I often thought of her fondly as the “sister-I-never-had”. My relationship with her had been strong up until I moved away and immigrated to Canada. After that, we both tried to stay in touch, with some success; but life always seemed to get in the way, and it had been a couple years since I had even tried to reach out to this particular family member.
But as I saw her name in the address bar of my email program, I could feel my heart leap with joy. My “sister” had reached out! She had responded to my email!
And so it went. We emailed each other daily, and we spoke on the phone about once a week. She began sending me pictures and videos of my beloved beach on the coast of Belgium, a place where she and I shared so many fond memories. These pictures were so, so beautiful! But even more beautiful was the fact that long-lost cousins had finally reconnected.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we would begin to pray fervently for my cousin. When she had some health issues, we prayed. Anyone surprised that the problems were gone the next day? As a result, she began to share some of her own concerns, and we were blessed to be able to pray for her friend who was nearing death. And we prayed for all of them to have a close walk with God, and of course, that they would be kept safe through the horrors of war.
This whole incident made a world of a difference to me. I realized then the truth in this powerful text: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV). God had used the horrors of war to reconnect two cousins across the ocean. And through this connection, He shone light into my life through the pictures and videos of my beautiful homeland, bringing back the beauty that the war had robbed me of.
That’s what God does. It doesn’t matter how dire the circumstances or how sad the times may be, God is always there, shining light into the darkness: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5 NIV). Remember, even the darkness of war can never overcome the light God shines into it. The problem is, if we aren’t watching for that light, if we are focusing only on the darkness, we won’t see God’s light. Hard times make it seem like we’re in a dark room with the curtains closed. God’s light shines all around us, but our focus on the darkness keeps us from seeing it. But if we were to open those curtains, God’s light would still be there, waiting to bless us.
What dark pit do you find yourself in? Ask God to reveal His light to you! Stop focusing on the problems and start seeking God’s hand of blessing that will never leave you or forsake you!
In His love,
Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries