Thirty-six hours ago Russia invaded Ukraine. Estimations are that up to 70% of those in Ukraine are Christians. Our hearts ache for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are facing the onslaught of unprovoked aggression. In the years to come, we believe there will be increased wars and attacks that unsettle the world order.
In fact, Jesus said so. He said:
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. Matthew 24:6-8 ESV
As a couple you will be facing these issues together until the return of Jesus. What can you do together to strengthen your faith and your marriage when a world crisis hits? Here are five things you can do:
1. Remember God’s Sovereignty
God is fully aware of the evil or tragedy that is taking place. He isn’t wringing his hands in heaven wondering how it will all turn out! In addition to the declaration above, Jesus said to his followers:
“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
God has the bigger picture and greater purpose in mind. As the book of Revelation spells out, there will be massive tribulation in our world and eventually The Antichrist will rule…and be defeated. Jesus won over the grave at his resurrection, and he wins in the end over the enemy.
As a couple, remind each other that God is in control. His purposes will prevail (Proverbs 19:21). You are already on the winning side.
2. Recall God’s Word
Power and hope are found in the Bible, which is God’s Word to you as a couple. Recenter your hearts and confidence by reading passages that point you back to Him. Here are some scriptures to read together:
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7 ESV
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 ESV
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 NLT
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23 ESV
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 ESV
…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
“They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” Revelation 17:14 ESV
3. Restrict Your News Intake
Have you ever watched the news and felt your anxiety level rising? We have. It’s easy to let your mind run wild with “what if’s” especially when there’s a world crisis. According to a study referenced in Very Well Mind, people who watched negative material, as compared to those who watched neutral or positive material, showed an increase in both anxious and sad moods after only 14 minutes of viewing television news bulletins and programs.
So does that mean we should ignore the news? No, but it does mean we may need to put some self-imposed boundaries around how we obtain our news and how much we watch. For example, do you watch the news right before bed and then lie awake worrying about what may happen? Do you leave your TV on all day? Choose one or two specific times of the day and check the news only at those designated times. Instead of watching news programs that specialize in sensationalizing events, select a news source that provides succinct, accurate reporting without a lot of editorializing. If you find images disturbing, download an app on your phone and just read the news. Another option is for your spouse to monitor world affairs and tell you what’s happening.
4. Reach Out to Others
Our world is more accessible and connected than ever before. When a world crisis occurs we may know people who are impacted by it. Perhaps you have a friend who has loved ones in Ukraine or you’ve traveled there yourself. You know people affected by the crisis and you are concerned for their well-being.
Reach out to them if it’s safe to do so. Let them know you care about them and are praying for them. Remind them that God is with them even in the worst of times. Sometimes just acknowledging their situation helps. Say, “I know this is a really scary time for you and I’m so sorry this is happening. I’m praying for God to direct you and give you the strength you need for each day.” If possible, come alongside those left behind. Hug them, write a note, pray with them, provide financial support, and let them talk. Listen to their concerns and love them. This is your opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are suffering. (Romans 12:15)
5. Reach up in Prayer
When you are facing a world crisis it’s vital that you pray together. You become unified as a couple when you join together in the intimacy of a shared conversation to God. Together you can touch the world through prayer. There are a number of things about which you can pray such as:
- In case of war, like Russia and Ukraine, pray for peace. Be bold in your prayer and ask God for miraculous intervention while trusting his sovereignty and purposes.
- Pray for those who are under persecution.
- If there is a natural disaster, pray for those who are displaced or lost loved ones. They need God’s comfort, strength, and provision.
- Pray for spiritual protection. (See 2 Kings 6:15-17 about the chariots of fire and Ephesians 6:10-18)
- Pray for our government leaders. (See 1 Timothy 2:1-2)
- Pray that the good news of Jesus would be spread and people would be saved.
Let the crisis of the world draw your focus to Jesus, to others, and to your relationship. As you do you will build your marriage.