A choice to trust in God: Learning from one Ukrainian woman

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March 2022

A choice to entrust our lives to God

Learning from the example of a Ukrainian sister in Christ

By Ryan Gilfeather

There is a vast mural in the centre of Kiev, sitting outside the golden-domed monastery of St Michael. On it stand St Michael and All Angels, their crowns adorned with golden rings and shoulders with feathered wings.

Sitting in the heart of the city, it used to form the backdrop of daily life: as people walked to work each day, or carried their shopping home, they would glimpse it in the corner of their eyes, each day a different part would arrest their gaze.

Two weeks ago air raid sirens sounded out across the city. Ukrainian troops gathered together all the ammunition they could carry, building up their defences. But, at the same time, a lone woman stood praying in front of this mural, her arms raised high above her head. She risked death, but she did not care. Instead, she thought it better to entrust her life to God, so that she could pray for peace. She put her safety in God, rather than the situation.

"A lone woman stood praying in front of this mural, her arms raised high above her head. She risked death, but she did not care. Instead, she thought it better to entrust her life to God, so that she could pray for peace."

Throughout his letters, St Paul tells us to imitate Christians whose lives follow the pattern of Christ. He says, ‘Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ,’ (1 Cor. 11:1) and ‘Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us’ (Phil. 3.17). If we imitate them, then we too can begin to pattern our lives on Christ.

Consider this woman in Kiev. She entrusted herself to God, seeking safety in Him above any other material situation. In this, she imitates Christ as he entrusted his life to God as he was lifted up on the cross where he died. Her life provides for us a model: if we follow it in our own lives, then we too can reflect Christ’s complete trust in God.

Whenever our adversaries crowd in we have a choice,
to run or to stand and entrust ourselves to God.

Very few of us will ever find ourselves in her place. But each day we face great uncertainties. Perhaps there are situations in your ministry where there seems to be no solution or way forward. Whenever our adversaries crowd in we have a choice, to run or to stand and entrust ourselves to God. I suggest that we should follow the example of this woman, and in so doing, become ever more in the image of Christ.

Ryan Gilfeather
Ryan Gilfeather
Ryan Gilfeather is training for ordination at Ridley Hall and serves as a Dean's Vicar in Peterhouse Chapel. Alongside his formational training, he is also a PhD Candidate at Peterhouse and the Divinity Faculty of the University of Cambridge.