In the midst of a peaceful and pleasant morning, I was viscerally interrupted by a disturbing news alert. Ready for this, former televangelist Pat Robertson, apparently came out of retirement to comment on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I can’t make this up. Robertson said Russian President Vladimir Putin is being “compelled by God” to bring about the “End of Times,” prophesied in the Bible. My head almost exploded. It’s just really bad theology and simple folly – again.  Robertson made a special appearance on The 700 Club Monday to weigh in on Russia’s attack on Ukraine, saying Putin is simply following God’s wishes to spark an End of Times battle against Israel. Robertson cited verses from the book of Ezekiel regarding nations coming together to rise up against Israel—saying Russia’s invasion is a precursor to that event. (Robertson is already 0- 2 with his end of the world predications. In 1976, he predicted the world would end in 1982. And in a 1990 book he said the world would be destroyed on April 29, 2007.) I’m betting on Robertson being wrong again and I am convinced he has no extra special, super-duper spiritual insights. But I am bothered by Robertson’s support for Putin as part of a divine plan. What is that saying? From 4,952 miles away Robertson dismisses the suffering and destruction of the people of Ukraine caused by Putin’s invading forces as if it is merely a board game. Collateral damage for the good of God’s glory.  Sounds crazy because it is crazy.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe God can make good out of something bad but that determination is best assessed by the one whose been harmed or wronged rather than one in the bleachers in a different part of the world. Detachment and distance is not a benefit in making appropriate assessments. Putin as part of a divine plan – that does sound crazy.

Scripture Reading: Matthew 24:42
“Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”

Reflection Questions:
How can good come out of a bad situation?
How are you living out your faithfulness?
What are the components of making good assessments?

Prayer: Holy God, help me be open to the ways you use me to further your desire for creatures, community and creation.  Let me not be fooled by the noise of others. Amen