Just when you thought it could not get any worse, it did. We survived the worst pandemic in modern history. Now, when we are finally catching our breath, it seems like the world is on fire.
Russia’s blistering attack on Ukraine under President Putin is a powder keg that threatens the whole world. This situation has escalated alarmingly fast as Russia, now entrenched in Ukraine, has threatened to use biological and chemical weapons. They have even threatened to go the nuclear route.
Many warn these threats could lead to World War III. Last time I heard that was when I was a child during what was known as the “Cuban Missile Crisis.” President Kennedy and the leader of the then Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, went toe-to-toe as Soviets moved weapons to Cuba only miles from our shores. When we were children, adults told us to hide under our desks if an atomic bomb hit us.
So, with all of this present turmoil in the world, how are we reacting in America?
It is understandable that anxiety and stress plague many. Especially those that have the news on all day. Yet thousands of others party away on Spring Break. We should not “party like it’s 1999,” as Prince sang. We should pray like it’s 2022.
I believe this global conflict reminds us that Jesus Christ is coming back again. These are "signs of the times" that Jesus warned us about in Matthew 24, responding to the question of His disciples who asked, "What will be the signs that you are coming back again?"
Here are three actions we as Christians can take during these trying times.
Pray for an end to this attack on the people of Ukraine.
Pray for the protection of and provision for the millions of Ukrainian refugees leaving their homes and fleeing for their lives. Support organizations like Samaritan’s Purse who are on the ground with help.
Pray for our leadership, President Biden, his staff, his military advisors. Pray they act wisely and prudently in this hour. Pray that the Lord changes the heart of President Putin — that he turns from this wicked and reckless course.
We should all be praying for peace. I wrote an article for The Jerusalem Post where I pointed out that sometimes Christians are wrongly portrayed as wanting to see Armageddon happen in our lifetime. So, whenever there is a conflict or catastrophe, we see it as a “fulfillment of Bible prophecy.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
We are told in Scripture to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6). Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they are the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). We should both pray for and work for peace in our world today.
There is nothing we want more for our world.
As tensions rise and leaders continue to meet, we pray for peace and hope for an immediate end to the devastation.
People need hope right now. According to a new poll from the American Psychological Association, many Americans are reporting very high levels of stress due to financial concerns, inflation, the pandemic, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
We need to preach some good news in this world of bad news. I know that the word “preach” is usually thought of negatively. (i.e., “Don’t preach at me!”) But it’s a word that means to proclaim. Another way to put it is to “make a recommendation.” We preach every day to our friends or on Yelp as we opine about a new restaurant we found.
But we are dealing with something far more critical than the best burger in town these days. We are talking about life and death issues, so I highly recommend that people turn to God right now. People need to know that a God in Heaven loves them and can enter their lives.
I prayed with a man in the hospital this week due to vital organ failure. I asked him if he wanted Jesus Christ to enter his life, and he said yes. After praying, he called his sister and said that he now had personal peace and was ready to meet the Lord if he were to die.
Understand, I am not a "prepper." (Though the idea of a fallout shelter has some appeal right now!)
I am saying we need to prepare for the afterlife. Not just because of current events, but because nobody gets out of here alive. Death is inevitable for every person. The statistics on death are pretty impressive: 100% of people die. But the good news is there is an afterlife. For the person who has put their faith in Christ, there is the promise of Heaven. Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, you may be also” (John 14:3).
Heaven is a prepared place for prepared people. What if this was your last day on earth? Would you go to Heaven?
The Bible says, “Prepare to meet your God!” (Amos 4:12). Jesus told of end-times events, which I believe we are now witnessing, “When you see these things begin to happen, look up, for your redemption is near” (Luke 21:28).
He did not tell us to freak out but to look up. Don’t be caught unawares. Look up, pray, preach and prepare.
Greg Laurie is the pastor and founder of the Harvest churches in California and Hawaii and of Harvest Crusades. He is an evangelist, best-selling author and movie producer. His new book World Changers: How God Uses Ordinary People to Do Extraordinary Things (Baker Books), releases Sept. 1.