On Sunday, September 30, I had the privilege to attend New Hope Church in Kharkov. It is an English speaking congregation full of students from around the globe who study in Kharkov.
It was great to hear a sermon in English by the pastor, who is Ukrainian. He preached from Psalm 23:1-4 and provided me with some new insight into a passage that is often preached at funerals, but is useful in everyday life.
Recently, I have had numerous conversations with friends and acquaintances about the future. Many young people in Ukraine do not see a future here. They talk about corruption, the lack of opportunities to make real money, and a government that doesn’t care about them.
Ultimately, I think many of them are fearful since there doesn’t appear to be any change in the situation in Ukraine. Just last week I met with a young man that spent the summer in America participating in the Work and Travel program. I think he suffered some culture shock coming back to Donetsk after spending 3 months in Texas and New York.
In this text, we see that just as a shepherd cares for his sheep, so the Lord will care for his people, providing for their needs, guiding them, and protecting them. Pastor V shared the story of how a shepherd would dam up a section of a river or running water so that the sheep could drink as they are afraid of running water. That picture of care and love in the midst of fear is also true of our Lord.
Pastor V also shared a great illustration of the “valley of the shadow of death” of the uncertainties that lie in wait for us. Those valleys are certain to come, but we do not need to fear them, for as David wrote in this Psalm, “you (Lord) are with me.”
It is amazing the number of times we read in the Bible that the Lord will be with us. Throughout the Old Testament and concluding with Jesus’ last words, we are promised that He will always be with us. Great comfort in times of need. Whatever obstacles we may be facing today, surely, we need not fear as God is with us.