Over the last few days as we marked the passage of 2022 and the coming of a new year, the war in Ukraine raged on unabated. 400 Russian soldiers died in a single attack in Kherson, 200 in Donetsk, and 63 in Makivka. I read with sadness the celebration expressed by the news articles over the deaths of so many young lives as “the best New Year’s present” to the Ukrainian people. It is true. The war has been an unjust one. The death toll among Ukrainian civilians has been unconscionable. Families have been decimated. Children have not been spared the horrors of war. But I cannot help but feel the painful stab of loss. A life so quickly snuffed out regardless of which side of the political divide is never a thing to celebrate. The Book of Hebrews reminds us of a simple and unalterable fact: “It is appointed to man once to die, and after that, the Judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
Have you ever wondered why the signs of the End Times is populated by “wars and rumours of wars”, murders and betrayals, earthquakes and unnatural disasters? Have you ever considered the hopeless odds that Satan levies against Christ at the Battle of Armageddon, of Gog and Magog against Jerusalem, of mere flesh and blood against the Creator of heaven and earth? I wonder if in the carnage of war one actually stops to realize that Satan’s single ploy is to destroy as many lives as he can before he himself is cast into the Lake of Fire. In the heartless destruction of lives, there is no opportunity for repentance, there is no joy of salvation. No wonder we read in Psalm 46:9, “God causes wars to cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in sunder. He burns the chariots with fire.” May we never enjoy the immorality of war regardless of which side suffers losses and which side wins the day. May we be concerned for every soul, from those in our Sunday School classes to those coming to our church for a serving of warm food on a Saturday afternoon, and from those caught in the terrible grip of sin to those facing the carnage of war. Every soul matters. They matter to God.