4 August, Day 163

Ira Kapitonova is with Ivan Kapitonov and Dmytro Bereza.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; 
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. 
I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 13:5‭-‬6

Today Russian troops shelled the area near Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) twice. They seriously damaged a high-voltage power line, nitrogen-oxygen station, and the combined auxiliary building. There are risks of hydrogen leakage and sputtering of radioactive substances. Fire danger is serious. It means a nuclear disaster can happen anytime if the Russian troops are not careful enough. 

Is it something new? No. The city of Enerhodar (and Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant) has been under Russian occupation since March 4, 2022. Over the past few months, they have turned the NPP facility into their ammunition depot (which means a high risk of detonation and explosion), and they were interfering with the management and staff of the NPP. A few times, Russian missiles aimed at Kyiv or another region of Ukraine flew really low over the NPP, putting it in danger. It is one more weapon of terrorism, a nuclear one this time. We are literally sitting on a powder keg, and we are fully aware that the risks of Russia using a nuclear weapon or causing a nuclear disaster are not negligible.

What should we then do? I believe we should pray, trust God (for His interference and protection is vital in this situation), and keep on living.

The enemy (both our immediate physical enemy, Russia, and the spiritual enemy) wants us to be paralyzed by fear or anxiety. The enemy wants to steal our joy. He wants us to feel dead while we are still alive. And we must resist it.

I read a post by Ostap Slyvynkyi (https://bit.ly/3bvavKF), a Ukrainian poet and translator, in which he shares that he struggles with rejoicing because it feels wrong. It feels as if it's something that needs to be postponed until "when the war is over." I've heard similar ideas from many of my friends, and that's how I often feel. However, Ostap also shares his conversation with a woman who had to leave her home in Kostiantynivka ( a heavily shelled town in the Donetsk region) and move to the West of Ukraine. 

She said, "People often ask me how come I have so much joy? Why am I so happy? Sometimes they ask me this with some accusation. And really, I have nothing and no one left, except [my son]. But then, one day, I got a revelation - if the enemy had taken away everything I had, I shouldn't let them also take away my days. So I stopped thinking, "just wait a little bit, and then we'll win, and life will be back as usual." No. Our life happens now, and there will be no do-overs. And our victory will not come as an awakening from a horrible nightmare when you say, "I'm fine, I'm home." No, it won't be this way because it wasn't a dream, and "home" is no more.

That's when I decided I would do everything in my power for our victory, but I refuse to give the enemy any day of my life. There won't be a day when I lay flat and pity myself. No, I will rejoice out of spite. Yes, there's joy in spite of everything and out of spite for the enemy."

To me, these words are spoken by the woman who has lost everything except her life-asserting resilience and dignity. They were an encouragement to me, and I hope they urge you to rejoice in the Lord despite the circumstances so that the enemy wouldn't be able to take away your will for life. May the hope of God's promise be our light even in the deepest darkness.

 Art by Yevheniia Haidamaka