3 Ways Living in Wartime Changes Your Perspective

“It’s amazing how quickly what seemed like a vital aspect of your life becomes meaningless…”

From Message magazine issue "Missions on the Frontline"

Living in a country that’s at war not only changes the way you think, it changes your perspective on everything. It infiltrates your daily life like a bad rash. The harder you try to pretend it’s not there the more you become aware of its presence.

1. Priorities change

It’s amazing how quickly what seemed like a vital aspect of your life becomes meaningless. Losing that extra 10 pounds or searching for the latest fall fashions will always take a back seat when your life and priorities are in balance.

In a way, this change in priorities is good; it wakes up the soul. It boils life down to the basics. I believe this pruning of priorities is useful for the church, and I’ve seen it in Eastern Ukraine churches. They are no longer as concerned with music styles and sermons that run overtime. Instead, they’re consumed with the ministry of providing physical and spiritual aid to those in need.

War produces clarity of God’s calling. It’s a beautiful agony that produces an ache in the soul that says, “Lord, how can I serve?”

2. Long-term plans are thrown out the window

Western society is a culture of big plans. From the time I was a young man, I have been taught the importance of planning ahead. I’ve sat down in many meetings with different groups as we’ve hammered out plans for the entire year or even the next five years.

I’m not against planning but one thing I’m starting to recognize is that all planning is based on one primary assumption: everything will remain the same.

In wartime, we learn that everything is conditional and temporary, especially peace.

3. The idea of peace takes on new meaning

Peace is one of those words that everyone can agree upon. Talk to anyone in Ukraine or listen to any world leader, and they will tell you that more than anything they want peace.

But if everyone wants peace, why don’t we have it?

Wanting peace is not enough. Peace must be earned. Peace requires hard work and sacrifice.

But that’s not the real problem. Some people are willing to work for it, but unfortunately, everyone wants peace on their own terms. And as long as neither side is willing to submit, there will be no peace.

I pray that God gives wisdom to the leadership of Ukraine so that there will be peace in Eastern Ukraine, but I know that this peace will only be temporary because only Jesus can provide permanent peace. He’s already doing this in the hearts and souls of people every day. I pray for the day when he finally takes the government upon his shoulders and give us complete eternal peace.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published December 30, 2018. For ways to pray for the current crisis in the Ukraine, see here.

Caleb Suko

Caleb Suko is an ABWE missionary and pastor in Odessa, Ukraine, where he has served since 2007. He is also the director of Blagovestie Today Center for Evangelism and Discipleship, which aids local churches all over Ukraine by offering biblical teaching on evangelism and discipleship. Caleb blogs and podcasts regularly at sukofamily.org.