The Face Of Suffering (Luke 22:41-44)

As the world watches in horror as Russia invades Ukraine, the news and social media have given us stark images of the terrible toll on human lives. There are desperate stories of heroism in the face of overwhelming odds. We hear chilling interviews with families forced to flee to neighboring countries. 

My neighbor in my business complex is from Ukraine and his associate is from Russia. Over the last thirteen years, we have become friends. Both are incredulous at the tragic unfolding of events. Most of his family and friends fled to safety in the Western portions of Ukraine, before the invasion began. As he texted me, he solemnly wrote, “Unbelievable this is happening in this day and age. Please pray for us.” For some Americans, the events in Ukraine may seem distant and removed. However, when there is a face associated with these horrific events, it becomes very personal. 

The Bible records many battles and wars but it seldom portrays the human side of the suffering with one important exception. On the evening when Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, Jesus took His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He was entering His final battle with Satan who was always lurking to attack both Him and His disciples. 

He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. 

Luke 22:41-44 (NLT)

Jesus sees the pain and suffering of millions of Ukrainians. He knows the tragic sacrifices that billions of others have experienced through countless wars. He experienced the full weight of all the sin and suffering that has ever been or will be experienced as He was tortured on the Cross. As He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, no one but Jesus would ever know the pain He would soon experience. He prayed so fervently that His sweat became like drops of blood. It was a grim foreshadowing of the blood He would soon shed for the world. 

Our Lord, Jesus Christ, is the face of the suffering of all Ukrainians and the only hope for this fallen world. 

Let’s join together in prayer for an end to this war in Ukraine. 

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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