Sunday afternoon, a taxi driver named Vitalik, picked me up to take me to the airport. The street I live on is a one way street, except for one lane that buses use to travel in the opposite direction.
As we were traveling along the road, I heard a car engine revving and witnessed a car fly by in the lane reserved for buses traveling the opposite direction. Fortunately, there weren’t any buses and we watched as this car weaved in and out of traffic with no tags on the car.
This incident caused Vitalik to ask me if we had drivers like that in America. I assured him that we did, but there are far fewer of them than in Ukraine. We began discussing the wealthy people in Ukraine and their children and several horrible incidences where their children have been able to practically walk away from incidences that would mean jail time in other countries.
His conversation reminded me of numerous conversations I have had in the last 18 months while living in Ukraine: the younger people do not have hope for real change to happen in Ukraine and they are all looking for a way out. Just recently, I asked a group of 4th year students a the Economics university how many of them planned to look for jobs outside of Ukraine. Every hand went up.
I can only imagine the disappointment the professors must have felt who were sitting in the room. They are preparing these students not to be productive in their own homeland, but for them to be productive elsewhere, at least that is what the students hope.
While listening to Vitalik, my heart was broken. I shared with him that I have spent more than 11 years in the former Soviet Union. I have enjoyed every country I have lived in and my greatest desire is to see these countries stand on their own and succeed. Almost eight of those years have been in Ukraine and I have really grown fond of the country, its culture and especially, its people. I truly believe that I love Ukraine more than some of its own.
Then, God reminded me of the proverb found in Proverbs 29:18: Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. (KJV) The translation I read the most, English Standard Version says, Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.
Where there is no vision. I think in many ways, this describes the young people of Ukraine. Many have told me, “If I only saw the country changing, then maybe I could believe things would be different.” And how true is the “the people cast off restraint”. I witnessed that with the way the driver conducted himself.
A few hours later, I arrived in Budapest. Hungary gained its independence from communism in October 1989, less than 2 years before Ukraine. I do not wish to compare the two countries, but let’s just say that Hungary is farther along in the process than Ukraine, which begs the question, “why isn’t Ukraine?”
While there may not be vision in Ukraine, there is hope. It is that hope that drives me each and every day. The hope for a better country, for a better live. That hope is found in only one place, a relationship with Jesus Christ. That is my vision for Ukraine. That soon, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess: Jesus Christ is Lord. Then and only then will there be not only hope, but vision as well.