Sunday, at church I heard people asking the question, “What is God saying to us?” They were referring to the devastating fires we are having here in northern California and across the western United States as well as the flooding that has occurred in the eastern part of the nation. Monday morning I picked up the newspaper and read that overnight the “River Fire” that started near Hopland in Mendocino County had come to within a few miles of the upper part of Clear Lake and that several towns, including the Lake County seat of Lakeport, had been evacuated. I immediately thought of my cousin Patty who is about to turn 100 years old. She and her son live very near Lakeport. I have been trying to reach them but so far have been unsuccessful. I hope she and her family have found shelter elsewhere, perhaps with friends or at a shelter in nearby Kelseyville or Middletown. My attention had been so focused on the fire that has taken several lives in Redding and the fire that was threatening Yosemite that I had overlooked the fires in Mendocino and Lake Counties.
We have been praying for all the people in the path of these raging infernos and especially for those who are on the front lines fighting them, but having a personal connection to some of those people makes it even more urgent to us. Let us continue to pray and start looking for ways we can help. One way to help is to donate to organizations that are helping those affected by the fires. Two immediate recommendations are:
1) The Red Cross. You may donate online at www.redcross.org/donate/donation or call them at 800-RED-CROSS.
2) The Salvation Army. Reach them at https://deloro.salvationarmy.org/del_oro/northern-california-wildfires or call 1-800-725-2769. Of course, there are other avenues for getting help to those who have lost their homes, loved ones and to those who are fighting the fires. Do some research and let us know what you find out!
But let’s return to the question I heard: “What is God trying to tell us” through these fires and floods? Some might wonder if He is chastising us for our sins or trying to lead our nation to repentance. The answer is that He is always seeking, through both good and bad circumstances to bring us to Himself and to turn us away from the damage that sin inevitably causes to our souls. Yes, not just our nation but the whole world is fundamentally in revolt against God. That is what the Scriptures teach and the human record abundantly confirms. And even for those who have admitted their moral bankruptcy and turned to God for mercy, there begins a process of learning and growing in which God uses those same kinds of circumstances to help them become, more and more, like His beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
And there is another thing God is telling us through the fires, floods and other, similar disasters: “Please use the amazing gifts with which I have endowed you to take care of planet Earth, the home I have given you.” You see, as we have used our gifts to improve living standards for more and more people we have not been doing so altogether wisely. One of the unwise ways has been in our overuse of fossil fuels. I realize that a significant portion of my Evangelical Christian brothers and sisters have viewed this idea with strong suspicion. After all, it comes from those “tree-hugging, liberal leftists” like Al Gore and the Sierra Club! Truth, I fear, has been rejected through “guilt by association”.
It reminds me of the mistake good king Josiah made when Pharaoh Neco was passing through his land on his way to fight Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Josiah decided to engage the Egyptian army in battle in the plain of Megiddo but God warned Josiah to let the Pharaoh continue without hindering him. And how did he warn the godly Josiah, king of Judah? He warned Josiah out of the mouth of that ungodly, pagan Pharaoh! If you find that hard to believe, please read 2 Chronicles 35:20-22. The tragedy was that Josiah, presuming upon his superior relationship with God, went forth to battle and was killed. And that ended the very good reforms he was accomplishing in the land of Israel. After his death, Israel once more forsook the Lord. You see, God can speak to us through the lips of people we may consider to be, or who may actually be, unbelievers. God’s people sometimes make mistakes! God said, through the prophet Isaiah, “Who is blind but My servant, or so deaf as My messenger whom I send? Who is so blind as he that is at peace with Me, or so blind as the servant of the Lord? You have seen many things, but you do not observe them; your ears are open, but none hears.” (42:19-20) So likewise have God’s people been in our day when it comes to the truth of human originated global warming.
Even the critics are now admitting that global warming is happening. But they are saying the jury is still out with regard to its origin. They say it may be just part of a natural cycle of cooling and warming that has been going on for long ages. The evidence is against this. The correlation with fossil fuel consumption is clear and what is more, the carbon signature points to human production. It is not tied to sunspot activity or any other natural cycles. And the call to combat global warming is not an insidious plot to destroy our economy. In fact, it is a great opportunity to provide jobs and economic growth as we switch over to alternative sources of energy. Ok, I realize that I’ve bitten off way more than I can chew in this article but even if you strongly disagree with what I am saying, I invite you to explore the subject further and to dialogue. There are great resources available that provide the scientific evidence and the Biblical perspective with which we can tackle this problem.
Fires are raging.We have always had fires and no doubt building into forested areas and poor management of the forests has contributed to the problem but there is abundant evidence that our planet is heating up, both in the atmosphere and in the oceans and that this is contributing more “fuel” for both fires and floods.But, thank God, He has given us the tools to overcome the problem!We just have to supply the willingness to use them.Moreover, steps are being made in the right direction, mainly by private enterprise, and we need to cheer them on and ask our governments to lend a hand.The future is not gloomy but bright when we see it in the light of God’s word and act upon it!