Weekly column: Also if Finland joins NATO, our security is in God’s hand

15-04-2022

Christian Life

Sari Savela, CNE.news

Finland wants to join NATO. Photo ANP, Bart Maat

Some years ago, I got hold of the letters my grandfather sent to my grandmother from the Winter War in 1939-1940. My grandfather was killed in action in the early stages of the Continuation War on 31 July 1941. The letters gave me some idea of my grandfather’s kind of person. The most significant discovery was his belief in God.

When the Winter War broke out, Soviet leader Stalin thought Finland would be a tiny piece for the Soviet army. It would arm 100,000 men at best, but 337,000 men went side by side to defend the common enemy.

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Sari Savela

Sari Savela is editor in chief of Seurakuntalainen, a Christian news website in Finland. She is also active as a photographer. In her free time, she is involved in municipal politics.

She is married and mother of three grown-up children. Together with her husband, she does marriage work.

When the Winter War broke out, the Finns forgot the painful experiences and hatred of the Civil War (1918). To the surprise of the Soviet Union, it was met on the Finnish front by a united defensive line that, despite its weak equipment, was capable of wreaking havoc on the invader. The Winter War showed that Finns were prepared to sacrifice their lives for their country. The same will to defend own country is seen in Ukraine.

Just before the outbreak of the Winter War on 28 November 1939, my grandfather wrote: “I once wrote to you that our enemy can, in the worst case, take our lives, but he cannot drown our souls, and so seeing each other again is still waiting for us.”

We know the threat from the East

During the Winter War and the Continuation War, there was a lot of prayer in Finland, and many miracles took place. Although Finland lost territory to the Soviet Union in the war, it nevertheless retained its independence.

In Finland, we have always known that the threat comes from the East, not from the West. Finns have no illusions about Russia, yet Russia’s invasion of Ukraine surprised and shocked us.

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The Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin announces that her country is seeking NATO membership. Photo AFP, Paul Wennerholm

Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö made the telling comment after the war broke out that the masks have now been removed and only the cold face of war is visible. Overnight, the world changed, and the basic security of Finns was shaken. Overnight, Finland’s country risk increased in the minds of investors and tourists. Overnight, an idea that had previously been theoretical seemed frighteningly possible. What if war broke out in Finland?

Setting up a prayer group

The corona pandemic and the war in Ukraine have activated my prayer life. When the corona pandemic started, I set up a prayer group with some friends to pray for Finland and the world through Zoom. Since then, we have been praying together regularly. Now the main prayer topic is to pray for peace.

We Christians must constantly pray for the leaders and all the authorities. The Bible urges us to intercede “For kings, for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet, peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1. Timothy 2:1-2).

There has been much talk in Finland about joining NATO in recent weeks. Finland has seen that neutrality is the best security policy in the past. But not anymore. The Russian President’s decision to invade Ukraine showed that neutrality has no meaning if the enemy decides to attack arbitrarily.

Finland has over 1,300 kilometres of border with Russia. That is a fact we have to live with. Perhaps joining NATO is the best solution for Finland, or perhaps not. I pray for the decision-makers that they would have the wisdom to make the right decisions on this issue.

Security in God’s hand

In any case, I believe that Finland’s security lies in the end in God’s hands. As the Bible says: “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27). I pray that Finnish people turn to Jesus when seeking peace, for he is the Prince of Peace.

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