No one questions the fact that we live in unprecedented times. Catastrophe after catastrophe seem to follow each other in quick succession: fires, earthquakes in unusual locations, abnormally warm or cold temperatures, storms that leave death and destruction in their wake, and much more. The list could go on. But we have quickly brushed past many of these bizarre events as the focus has shifted to the next catastrophe at hand. For example, as the COVID-19 pandemic has spread like wildfire, people have quickly forgotten the literal wildfires that wreaked havoc all across the Australian continent!
And speaking of the pandemic, it has served as a blaring reminder that our earth is already teetering on the edge of destruction. Describing COVID-19, Pope Francis connected it with our climate, saying that “nature is throwing a tantrum so that we will take care of her.” According to him, catastrophes are nature’s way of getting our attention.[i]
Nature has indeed grabbed our attention, but it hasn’t accomplished the task on its own. The media has capitalized on the constant volley of events to create a sense of fear in people’s hearts. Many activists also seem to believe that fear is an effective motivator in leading people to change the way they are treating the environment.
But the Bible has given us a different way to handle the events happening around us. Though God does hold us accountable to care for the earth, we must recognize that many of the calamities are the work of an enemy.
The Bible acknowledges that our earth will throw tantrums as it heaves under the weight of sin: “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.” Rom. 8:22.[ii] In part, this groaning results from humanity’s mistreatment of the earth, and the Bible goes as far as to speak of “those who destroy the earth.” Rev. 11:18.
But there is an aspect over which we have no control: Satan himself is throwing a tantrum, for he would like to wreak as much havoc as he can in his remaining time on this earth! “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” Rev. 12:12. A quick review of Job 1 and 2 reminds us that Satan can use the elements to his advantage.
While Satan seeks to unsettle God’s people and create fear in their hearts, God provides us with an alternative. He wants to fill us with His peace to weather the climate of fear that surrounds us. This peace comes when we are focused on Him and His assuring promises: “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:28.
The words of this well-known hymn reflect a similar thought:
“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
“Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.”[iii]
If you are struggling with fear or anxiety in these dark
times, remember to look up! That is where we find our “blest assurance.”
For more Bible truth on how the Christian should
react to climate change and its lurking fears, be on the lookout for our
July/August issue, “Weathering the Climate of Fear.”
[i] Thomas Williams, “Pope Francis: Coronavirus Pandemic Is Nature ‘Throwing a Tantrum,’” Breitbart, Mar. 23, 2020.
[ii] All Bible verses are taken from the New King James Version.
[iii] Lyrics by Horatio G. Spafford