Monday, May 20, 2013

Adélie penguins, BC lemons and Luke 21

A few years ago, maritime lawyer Joe Spears suggested that, if global warming continues to melt Arctic ice, that would open up the Northwest Passage and make for greater movement of goods by ship. At the time, I sneered at the proposition: here we have the earth (I reasoned) hurtling towards destruction, and Joe's talking about improved commercial shipping?

Of course, that was when I was still of the mindset that global warming/climate change was a Bad Thing. But the more I've thought about it -- or, more accurately, the more the Lord has shown me the things that are written in His Word -- the more I've realized that these events are part of His plan, and rather than curse Him for sending a Bad Thing, we are to draw closer to Him and react according to His instructions.

Rather than seeing Joe Spears' prediction as a callous response to a crisis, we should see it as a case of adapting to changing conditions.

And there have been other items in the news about effects of global warming/climate change that may not be Bad Things, after all. Adélie penguins, for example, are actually benefiting from increased habitat due to the receding ice in the Antarctic. The Vancouver Sun reported in May that some growers on Vancouver Island are able to grow lemons and other citrus crops, due to changes in climate.

In my book, A Very Convenient Truth, or, Jesus Told Us There'd Be Days Like These, so Stop Worrying About the Planet and Get With His Program!, I point out that often, God's plan looks bad to us, simply because it can cause pain. But because His plan has been worked out from before the beginning of time, we need to focus not on the things that make us afraid but on what our instructions are -- spelled out for us in the Bible -- for responding to it.

In the Gospels, we read how Jesus forged ahead with the plan He'd been sent to execute, even though it ran against things people of the world thought were "good". When Peter protested that Jesus should not be persecuted and killed, Jesus called out Satan. At another point, "when Jesus perceived that [the people] were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone." (John 6:15) Wouldn't it have been "good" for Jesus to be declared King of the Jews? Wasn't that why the Messiah was supposed to come?

Yet, that would have kippered God's ongoing plan for our salvation today. If the people had had their way 2,000 years ago, where would we be now? Would we not still be wandering around in our sin, despairing that we had no way out -- assuming mankind would still exist?

As I write this, a report in Le Monde describes the very real threat in Micronesia from the effects of global warming. Livelihoods are in jeopardy, as are whole islands, from rising ocean levels. The article, however, points the blame squarely at industrialized countries and their "environmental irresponsibility". Clearly, there's a lot to fear.

But this is also an opportunity to reach out and help our fellow humans adapt to the changes. Pointing a finger at big bad industrialized countries, however soul-satisfying it might be, won't help anything. Just as we see the  way environmental change is benefiting Adélie penguins, potentially increasing commerce through the Northwest Passage and giving fruit growers on Vancouver Island a new cash crop, we need to look for ways to adapt to these new circumstances.

(It's worth noting that the blame is being fixed after the fact. The Word of God, however, also tells us what's going to happen, and enough of Its prophecies have already come to pass that we really need to take note.) Jesus says, "There will be signs in the sun, in the moon and in the stars; and on earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken." (Luke 21:25-26)

This is not a time for our hearts to fail us and for us to worry about what the future will bring (the "expectation of things coming"). Jesus tells us what happens next -- "the Son of Man [will come] in a cloud with power and great glory" (Luke 21:27) -- and we need to be prepared.

A Very Convenient Truth; or Jesus told us there'd be days like these, so stop worrying about the planet and get with His program! is an ebook, available for US$3.99 through online bookstores like Chapters/Indigo or Barnes and Noble.

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