“Did heaven look on and would not take their part?”

Watching the atrocities being committed against the Ukrainian people, their children, even their pets, is incapacitating me.  Putin’s evil forces are destroying homes, infrastructure, and power sources, thus leaving the Ukrainian people to suffer, flee, freeze, starve, and die. The madman appear to be actually targeting fleeing civilians. Peace-loving people around the world watch in horror as the elderly stumble in flight, children sob, dogs howl in pain, and families are torn asunder.  And why?  How can Putin get away with this? Is there no justice in the world?  Putin is a multibillionaire totalitarian ruler who already controls the nation with the largest land mass on earth. 

Fleeing Ukranian family lies dead in the streets near Irpin

In the Old Testament book of Samuel, God sends the prophet Nathan to tell King David the tale of a rich man who seized a poor man’s beloved only animal–his pet lamb–and slaughtered it to feed his guests, even though the rich ruler himself had thousands of animals.  Outraged, David decreed that the man must immediately be put to death.  God?  Where are you?  When do reach out with your righteous hand of justice for the people of Ukraine? Matthew 8:26 promises us: Look at the birds of the air… your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Putin’s atrocities in Ukraine call to mind Macduff’s anguished cry in the Shakespearean tragedy, Macbeth, “Did heaven look on and would not take their part?” 

I know that inhumanity to others has always been with us around the globe and throughout history, and that suffering is not unique to the Ukrainian people, yet somehow, something feels worse about this. Perhaps because Europe has enjoyed relative peace since the second world war. Perhaps it is merely the wall-to-wall news coverage of the images of the terror raining down from the skies. My faith in humanity, and even in God, has been decimated by the scope and horror of this human tragedy, specifically by watching the force of pure evil that Putin has unleashed on these innocent, freedom-loving people. 

History has been a long struggle between civilization and savagery. Have we made no progress at all since 1945? How can this be happening in 2022? Maybe it was the woman sleeping in a bomb shelter with her collie. Maybe it is tearful goodbyes between sobbing children and grieving fathers: knowing they may never see one another again. Confronted with these scenes, something dies inside of me as well. How can each of us not imagine ourselves in their places? Putin has no soul, but the rest of us still do; God, are you watching your children also? Will You take their part?

Fleeing Ukranian woman sleeps in bomb shelter with her pet collie

6:00 pm Update. War criminal Putin bombed and destroyed a maternity hospital in Ukraine today. “The Russians have lost their humanity.” — President Zelenskyy

Published by timnichols

First and foremost, I’m a dad. After that, by day I am a professor of Education at Alfred University, by night I'm a dog lover, a cancer survivor, and a daydreamer. Here are some thoughts and lessons learned from my journey…

4 thoughts on ““Did heaven look on and would not take their part?”

  1. I don’t really want to “like” this, but it’s well written as always. It really does stun the mind to see people do that to others.


  2. Thank you for putting words to the unspeakable situation that just leaves me stammering. How are we back to this? How can one man be allowed to create so much suffering?


    1. Thanks for reading this, Lauren. You are absolutely spot on with these questions. These are such dark and terrifying times. It helps to hear from friends and loved ones.


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