This is what war looks like even after the battles are over and the guns are gone. Artillery destroys in seconds what took years to build and what will take generations to heal!
Recently I visited Slavyansk, Ukraine which for several months in 2013 served as headquarters for a quick-moving Russian backed separatist revolt.
The separatists promised freedom from the Ukrainian government and a return to a more Russian Soviet life.
What the people got instead was death, destruction, and despotic rule from men who cared more for their military careers than for the lives of innocent citizens.
As a reminder of how quickly war can come and destroy life and property the citizens of Slavyansk decided not to fill in the bullet holes in the sign welcoming people to their town. A dab of red paint highlights each bullet hole.
Thankfully Slavyansk is now a free Ukrainian town. Yet some lost all they had before that freedom arrived.
In this end of town every fence, every gate silently echoes with the reverberations of mortars and machine gun fire.
Artillery shells found their way into a nearby psychiatric hospital, punching through walls and windows and leaving destruction in their path.
The silence here is uneasily peaceful and accompanied only by the quavering tone of nesting birds.
The fighting shattered all the windows and smashed many dreams along with them. As of yet no one is willing to return and repair the damage.
War has a way of making everything ugly. For how many years will the halls and hearts of Slavyansk carry with them the disfiguring scars of war?
All the horror of war comes from one place. It comes from man’s desperately wicked heart.
War pounds our eyes and ears with a hideous reality, try as we might we can’t overcome the repugnant effects of sin in our hearts.
We need a warrior of a different type, one who can bring life instead of death.
In the nearby town of Druzhkovka I found the above painting. Indeed, Jesus is the Warrior, King, Priest, and Savior our war-torn world needs!
Political change can be good but it is always temporary, this is why our greatest task is preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
And that’s exactly why I went to Eastern Ukraine, to train and encourage others to effectively share the hope of Jesus!
Don’t think all of Slavyansk looks like the previous pictures, that’s one end of town. Much of Slavyansk has come back to normal life.
Yet those bombed out and abandoned buildings served as a great reminder of the destruction war and sin bring upon us and of the urgent need for a greater Warrior who comes to bring life and ultimate victory!