240422 Sga May Ukraine Report Website Article 1 Wp Preview V0.1
May 03, 2024
Editor’s Note: The following testimony and images were provided by an SGA Storyteller in Ukraine.

SGA Storyteller Oleksandra remembers what she felt like after losing her brother, Yura, to a deadly disease. She was counting on God to answer her prayers the way she wanted and expected them to be answered. When He didn’t do that, it left Oleksandra with many questions that took a long time to work through. Some, that she is still questioning.

However, Oleksandra has stopped expecting God to answer her prayers in her way. Instead, she is content in knowing that He is sovereign and full of love. Oleksandra is choosing God over her expectations.

Please continue to pray for her and for all of those in Ukraine who live in the midst of life not being what they expected it to be. Pray that they will all look above to the hope that only God can provide and in His way. Oleksandra shares . . .

When God doesn’t meet my expectations . . .

It was March 26, 2005, when I found out that my older brother had passed away. He was only 13 years old. But due to an immune disease, he couldn’t overcome pneumonia. I vividly remember that day, even 19 years later. My mom’s voice woke me up that night at my grandmother’s house where my sister and I were staying. I hardly believed my ears as I hadn’t seen her for weeks while she was in the hospital with my brother. I was so excited that she had come back. I was about to get up and rush to her when deep weeping paralyzed me. I thought I had a bad dream and tried to fall back asleep, but the lamentation, which gave me goosebumps, wouldn’t let me rest. I heard my grandmother repeating, “You did everything you could, honey. Life goes on, and we’ll go through this together.” Then, deafening silence filled the room. I could sense with every inch of my body that something bad had happened. I just couldn’t understand what.

When I woke up in the morning and saw pictures of my brother around the house, a betraying thought crossed my mind: something was wrong with Yura, that was my brother’s name. My grandmother came up to me and embraced me while I was looking at one of the pictures. Her hands were cold, and she looked pale. She said we wouldn’t go to school that day. She added that we were going back home where we’d see our mom. What a relief, I thought to myself.

Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live (John 11:25).

When we arrived home, I hesitated to enter as I saw the house full of people, from neighbors to family members. I ran upstairs looking for my mom, and I couldn’t figure out why all the mirrors in the house were covered with white sheets. My aunt found me, saying that my parents were coming home with my brother, and they’d be there soon. What a joy. It had been a month since I last saw Yura; finally, he’d be there. The family wouldn’t be separated anymore. What I didn’t see coming was that he would arrive in a coffin.

He can’t be dead, I thought, when I saw his lifeless body. He must be sleeping. Why is everyone crying? Don’t they know the Bible story about Jairus’ daughter? Of course, they wouldn’t. They probably don’t go to church or read the Bible. If they did, they would know the story, as well as the one about Lazarus, which our Sunday School teacher told us on Easter. I recalled a verse we learned from John 11:25: I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. I enjoyed memorizing Bible verses. Our teacher would give us a sticker once we recited a verse. And the more stickers I have, the bigger gift I can choose. There was a shelf with different gifts in our classroom. I was dreaming about a big box of crayons which had 64 colors. 64! When I only had a box of 16. For a 10-year-old girl, it was the ultimate dream.

So, I was thinking of this verse and did not doubt that Jesus would come soon. He always came when his friends were in trouble. I knew my brother was a friend of Jesus. He repeatedly said this. He would wake the whole family up on Sunday mornings and tell them to get ready to go to church. He would also tell all his friends about Jesus and His love. He didn’t doubt His love even though Jesus didn’t respond to his prayer and didn’t heal his disability. He had to walk with crutches from the age of five and he could only dream about running or doing sports.

Jesus, you said everyone who believes in you, even if they die, will live. My brother believed in you. I know his faith was stronger than mine. Please, hurry. I want all these people to see your miracle. Suddenly, my dad interrupted my inner dialogue and said we had to go to the burial. Burial? We don’t have to go to a burial. We need to wait for Jesus to come! “He won’t come,” my dad said desperately. “Get in the car.”

They are all mistaken, I thought as I got into the car. But during the burial I realized it was I who was mistaken. And I understood it the moment the coffin was placed in the grave and covered with sand. Did God even love Yura if He let that happen? Did He even exist, or were we taught fairy tales at Sunday School? I had many questions from that day that would take me years to find answers to. Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this” (John 13:7). What I knew is that God doesn’t always meet our expectations the way we expect Him to. But whatever He does, He does it for His glory. If not for my brother’s death, I would never have gotten to know Jesus as my Savior. His death also made a great impact on other people’s lives. Some questions are still unanswered, but I don’t expect answers.


When people ask me about the ongoing war and whether it’s hard to live a life different from what I expected, I don’t know how to answer. It’s hard to be content when you have many expectations and none of them are met: when air-raid sirens and bombings keep waking you up at night, when your husband can’t move freely across the country or abroad, risking being called up to the army and dying on the battlefield, or when your friend, who was married to a soldier, becomes a widow.

So, what can I do to become content? I can choose Jesus over my expectations. I want to stop expecting God to end the war soon or give us answers to all the questions of “Why?” and “When?” Maybe later we’ll understand why we had to go through all of this. Perhaps, we’ll never know. God is Sovereign, and it’s His right to reveal things to us or keep them hidden. Whether we see blessings or experience loss, He is Love, He just doesn’t work the way we expect Him to.

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