What are you living for? : Remembering the Heavenly Hundred, and more…

While Ukraine was remembering the Heavenly Hundred this February 20th, 2019 another soldier in the war against corruption was also remembered, days earlier already having been welcomed into Heaven’s army.

This past week, on February 20th, the tragic deaths of nearly 100 Ukrainians on Kyiv’s central square 5 years ago were remembered, mourned and honored. These days in the middle of February will always be remembered as a turning point in the nation’s history. The “Heavenly Hundred”, as they became known, fell at the hands of snipers during the Maidan Revolution, seemingly randomly and capriciously. But it was not so.

Whether the shooters that took the lives of those protesting the corruption that had so stained Ukraine had a specific understanding of what they were doing or were simply following orders, we may never know. But in the grander scheme of things there were greater forces at work than mere men and their governments. History was being made.

In those fateful, sorrowful days the tide was turning so much so that the lives of Ukrainians would never quite be the same again. A traitorous President was driven out of power and a spirit of renewal came over the country. Out of the ashes, from those deaths grew up a living determination on the part of many that they would now strive to live in such a way that those who sacrificed all would not have died in vain.

While Ukraine was remembering the Heavenly Hundred this February 20th, 2019 another soldier in the war against corruption was also remembered, days earlier already having been welcomed into Heaven’s army.

What’s the bottom line?

THE FACTS:

  • Iryna Zakharova was only 36 and, although born and raised in Kyiv, had most recently lived in Lviv and Stanitsa Lughanska.
  • She wasn’t actually a member of the military, but rather a volunteer, a “foot soldier” fighting the battle not with guns and bombs but with words of encouragement and truth in a world of deception.
  • Ira volunteered, trying to help with the spiritual, emotional and day to day physical needs of those taking the brunt of Ukraine’s ongoing conflict with Russia.
  • Like the “Heavenly Hundred” that were on the frontlines of the barricades, Ira willingly put herself in harms way in order to help others. But even more so than her actual proximity to the the fighting, she was daily in the thick of the spiritual battle we all face in this life. She was always trying to help others shore up the foundations of their lives with the Truth that leads people to love, forgive, and do good to one another.
  • For her, “winning the war” meant even just one heart touched by the love of God.

Not unlike those at the barricades in Kyiv, Ira was also fighting against corruption. The corruption she stood against was that which comes upon the hearts of men and women and leads them to do all sorts of horror, including ultimately kill one another as was happening on Kyiv’s central square. And when those on Maidan danced and sang, celebrating that a wolf-in-sheep’s clothing had fled and was no longer able to rule the people, Ira also celebrated. But she rejoiced not only for Ukraine that she loved, but also daily for those that responded to her invitation to leave the tyranny of life lived simply for self and turn to the freedom found in living under the care of the Good Shepherd, Jesus.

Ira didn’t die a martyr’s death, like the Heavenly Hundred, but rather a simple – albeit unexpected for one so young- attack on her health took her. There are no memorials in her name in the center of Kyiv but her name is written on the hearts of all those who knew her and the countless people touched by her life. There is no national day of mourning for her, but as we remember those who fought and died for a better Ukraine, we will remember our friend who lived and died for a better world, one reconciled to its Creator.

What does it mean to you personally?

The way the Heavenly Hundred died inspired many to continue to be willing to sacrifice to build a new and better Ukraine. The way that Ira lived inspired all that loved her to continue to live daily, here on this earth, with love, compassion and in the grace and mercy of God. What are you willing to die for? Live for it today. Whatever it is, be fully convinced in what you are spending your life on, because one day, it will be gone. So get the facts. Get to the bottom line….and live it to the fullest. Goodbye sweet Ira, you are forever in our hearts.