The restaurant is staffed by all college students who are working their way through school. College of the Ozarks is known as Hard Work U, where their 1500 students work at more than 120 campus workstations to pay for their tuition.
We were served by a delightful young man, with a slight accent, who was polite, prompt, and very professional in serving us. At the end of the meal, I asked,” Where are you from?”
“Ukraine,” he promptly replied, without any additional commentary.
“Oh my,” I reacted. “Do you have family there?”
“Yes, my father is still there. And my mother and sister have fled as refugees.”
My heart sank for that young man.
I thought of my friend Dave and his wife who’ve escaped the Russian invasion and are now in Romania seeking a way to come to the United States. I thought of the many Christians who still reside throughout Ukraine. Laying awake at night hearing Russian missiles bombing their cities. Hurrying to bomb shelters when the sirens warn them of an impending strike. Huddled together wondering what the future holds. Many separated from their families.
When I returned to our condo, I turned to a Psalm that happened to be a part of our weekly reading. Psalm 35.
It’s David’s plea to the Lord during the time he was running from the paranoiac King Saul, who was slandering David, seeking to assault and kill him. David was God’s chosen King, and Saul was rejected. David was championing a righteous cause, and Saul was pursuing an unreasonable, unrighteous, and illegitimate vendetta against David.
In Psalm 35 David requests the Lord’s intervention in four ways.
Protect me (vs. 1-10)
Let them be put to shame and dishonor
who seek after my life!
Let them be turned back and disappointed
who devise evil against me! (v. 4)
Rescue me (vs. 11-18).
Lord, how long will You look on?
Rescue my soul from their ravages,
My only life from the lions.
Vindicate me (19-26).
Vindicate me in your righteousness, O Lord my God;
do not let them gloat over me. (V. 24)
Reward me (vs. 27-28).
Let them shout for joy and be glad,
Who favor my righteous cause;
And let them say continually,
“Let the Lord be magnified,
Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”
David’s heartfelt supplication might be the cry of innocent people in Ukraine attacked by evil. People who were minding their own business, seeking to serve the Lord, and sharing their faith with others.
But, it might be your cry as well. Among our many readers worldwide, I don’t know what hardship you’re enduring. What slight you’re suffering. What temptation you’re fighting. What evil you’re confronting. What misfortune you’re encountering. Or what mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual burden you’re bearing.
Please be advised that the Lord cares about your plight and problem. He will hear your cry. And He will respond to your requests. However, not necessarily right now.
David’s cause was righteous. His feelings were justified. His request was appropriate. Yet, God didn’t answer immediately. You wonder why? I don’t know for sure. But I know He evidently did. In His time. And I know God’s ways are not my ways. His thoughts are not my thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9). And His means, method, and timetable of dealing with evil in the world are His prerogative. Not mine.
In the meantime, don’t give in. Don’t give out. Don’t give up.
God’s cause will ultimately win. And evil will be defeated.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman