Psalm 22:11 “Be not far from Me, O Lord, for trouble is near. For there is none to help.”
In our second installment of Jim McDermott’s Stations of the Cross devotional, using stories of Ukraine’s people amid their suffering, we concentrate on Jesus Christ’s voluntary sacrifice of His life for us from the time He carries the cross to Golgotha, His death on the cross, and His burial in the Tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.
Our verse this week, from the Old Testament book of Psalms, is one of the many fulfilled prophecies of Jesus Christ as He suffers on the Cross. In this Psalm 22, King David predicts that everyone around Him will mock Him (which they did), saying that if God loves Him, let Him deliver Him. This famous Psalm, written in 1,000 BC, goes so far as to describe the crucifixion of Christ with the words “They pierced My hands and My feet.”
As you read the stories of suffering Ukrainians, pray that the Lord is with them in their terrible time of trouble.
Station 7: Jesus Falls for the Second Time. Lyudmila, Mariupol: “Here is hell. Constant shelling. We sit in the basement, sometimes we manage to cook food on a fire. A hole was dug near the entrance to go to the toilet. Very cold. We are still alive, but there is very little food left. As for the rest of our relatives, I do not know. There is no connection. Pray for the strength to not look away from what is happening in Ukraine.”
Station 8: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem. Kateryna, Lugansk: “These days, I have a feel for what the concept of ‘sick horror’ means. It is an almost tangible something that lives in the solar plexus. Periodically it spreads its tentacles throughout the body from the inside, compresses every organ, every artery, vein, capillary. It was physically impossible to eat or drink, too. It was impossible to sleep; it was constantly very cold, and no blankets and socks could save us. And I could not cry. On the second day, fear turned into hellish hatred. It grows stronger every day and becomes almost tangible.”
Station 9: Jesus Falls for the Third Time. Darla, Mariupol: “We have been without water, electricity, gas, heating for eight days. Neighbors lit a fire under the house to cook food on it. We stood in line for six hours. There was no bread. Shops have been looted. All the roads around are mined by the Russian military. There are no corridors. It is not safe to drive because you can get blown up. Mom said that there was enough food for everyone for a maximum of a week. After that, there will be no more. They collect snow and boil it.”
Station 10: Jesus is Stripped of His Garments. Natasha, Mariupol: “Half a million Mariupol residents are cut off from life. There are no streets left with undestroyed houses. The bodies of the dead are buried in the courtyards of residential sectors. There is no light, heat, water, food, communications in the city. Children are dying of dehydration. The enemy cynically breaks the promised ‘green corridors,’ blocking any attempts to deliver food and medicines.”
Station 11: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross. Yaroslava, Borodianka: “A shell hit my apartment in a four-story building—it is no more. Hiding with my mother in the basements of private houses. In Borodyanka, Kadyrovites (Chechnyan paramilitary soldiers who are working with the Russian army) are shooting at locals. Shelling is constantly being carried out. We are exhausted both physically and mentally. We are constantly crying.”
Station 12: Jesus Dies on the Cross. Elena, Kharkiv: “On February 28, my friend and her family decided to leave. A rocket hit their car. The whole family burned to death. Lord, give us the faithfulness to not look away.”
Station 13: Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross. Anna, Kyiv: “A column of Russian occupying equipment was standing right outside our gates, driving back and forth. But no one looked at them anymore; we just lay on the floor all the time. It was scary to raise our heads. For a week, we lived with the children and the cat in some nook under the stairs. The horror is that a person gets used to everything. Come, Lord Jesus, come.”
Station 14: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb. Kateryna, Lugansk: “My parents and I left our homes for the second time in seven years. I cannot express these feelings. People ask me: Are four walls dearer to you than the lives of your loved ones? Of course not. Our family is safe, but I keep thinking that it would be better if I stayed at home. Even under shelling it would be easier for me than wandering around other people’s apartments, without my things and in complete uncertainty about how long all this will last and whether my house will survive.”
Closing Prayer “Loving God, in the Stations of the Cross you show your faithfulness to us, faithfulness even to your death on the cross. Be faithful now to all living in Ukraine. Grant them the salvation you revealed at Easter. Bring us all closer to your kingdom.”
The Evidence of Faith’s Substance _ Article #494