2012: WHY THE WILD WEATHER
The summer of 2012 in the USA will always be remembered for the number and severity of storms, wildfires, extreme heat waves, and other extreme weather that struck the country. What are we to make of such widespread and extreme happenings? They are clearly out of the ordinary, as the shattering of thousands of temperature records prove. Do we just chalk it up to the vagaries of weather? Blame it on global warming? Or could there be a deeper cause?
The more extraordinary the phenomenon, the more extraordinary is its cause likely to be. The weather extremes in the USA in 2012 are so beyond ordinary that any observant person should immediately suspect something going on that is far beyond the normal. An astute person looking for the root cause of all this super-normal activity in nature will look not to the natural realm but to the supernatural. Two examples from the Bible come to mind that bolster this contention.
The first is the Great Flood of Noah’s day. Before that time, in the Garden of Eden, Scripture says that “God had not sent rain on the earth . . . but (a mist) came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground” (Gen. 2:5,6 NIV). In other words, before sin corrupted the paradise that was originally earth, everything was of a gentler nature because everything was in tune and in accord with the nature of the God who created it–and that nature prefers to be gentle. The psalmist says of God, “Thy gentleness hath made me great” (Ps. 18:35 KJV).
Elsewhere, one of Job’s friends, though often having a mistaken view of God and reality, did speak knowingly in one passage, where he says, “Are God’s consolations not enough for you, words spoken gently to you? Why has your heart carried you away, and why do your eyes flash, so that you vent your rage against God and pour out such words from your mouth?” (Job 15:11-13 NIV).
Those words were spoken long ago in response to the calamities that had struck Job, calamities far beyond those normal to life in this fallen world. They also hold a hint as to why these extreme weather catastrophes have befallen our own nation in our own time. Ill-conceived words from our society and government against God and his laws have caused God to respond, changing his preferred tone of gentleness to one of severe warning and judgment. If people do not respond to his gentle ways, then he must increase the pressure on them to repent of their sin and rebellion against him. He does this out of his unchanging love for them, for he has already proven that he will do all that he can to warn them and try to turn them from their wicked folly. He proved that when he gave up his only Son on the cross to save all mankind from the consequences of sin.
We have had a long period of gentle reproof from God and verbal warnings. Those reproofs and warnings were ignored as America went from wickedness to wickedness, passing laws that defied God’s laws for life and how it should be respected and lived. Therefore, God must now turn up the heat–both figuratively and literally–to try to get our attention. If we will not respond to gentler means, then more drastic measures must be taken. The extreme weather calamities of 2012 are one way in which this is done.
It may be possible to look the other way when godless laws are passed in the land; it is not possible to ignore stifling heat and wildfires that spread across that same land. We should pay attention to the warnings that these extreme weather events are meant to convey to us, for there is always a connection between the natural and the supernatural, just there was in Noah’s day.
The second illustration from the Bible is that of the ten plagues of the Exodus (Ex. 7-12). No one who reads the biblical account of that massive exodus from Egypt can help but be struck by the extraordinary nature of the ten plagues: frogs and gnats that covered the land; hail of incredible proportions and intensity; and mysterious darkness that descended on the land. An hypothesis has been put forth that all the very unusual weather phenomena of the exodus were the result of a comet passing through earth’s atmosphere. Whether that is so or not is open to debate, but even if true, that would only explain the strange events on a surface level. Natural phenomena are only the means by which supernatural causes are manifested. We should not confuse the mechanics of extreme natural events with their underlying real causes.
A stubborn, unmoving high-pressure system in the middle of the country may be the culprit causing the physical process of a heat wave, but what makes that high pressure system so stubborn and unmoving in the first place? To seek the answer to that question in terms of other natural causes fails to understand the connection between the supernatural and the natural worlds. That such a connection does indeed exist is affirmed in many places in Scripture; the book of Amos alone contains a number of them, as it describes how God uses the world of nature as a vehicle to carry out his decisions in the heavenly realms:
“I . . . withheld rain from you. . . . I sent rain on one town, but withheld it from another. One field had rain, another had none and dried up” (Amos 4:7).
The United States, in this incredible year, saw wildfires of unprecedented size and number; drought and heat swept over much of the country; record-breaking numbers of tornadoes and storms of great intensity ravaged other parts of the land. All of this left the people stunned and in shock. What is going on? They do not know. They do not know because they do not look to the supernatural for the explanation; they leave God out of the picture.
And what is the supernatural explanation? It is given in that same passage quoted above from Amos. After describing various harsh and frightening disasters that have struck the land, he makes it clear that God was the cause of these disasters.
“I . . . withheld rain from you” (v. 7).
“Many times I struck . . .” (v. 9).
“I sent plagues . . .” (v. 10).
And after each such plain declaration that God is the real, supernatural cause of these disturbances in weather and the land, comes the equally clear statement of why he is doing this: to wake up the people out of their deadly complacency. After each disaster’s description comes these words: “Yet you did not return to me” (vs. 6,8,9,19).
Some might object that a loving God would not do this. Isn’t God love? How then can he do such dreadful things to human beings? He does it for the same reason a loving parent disciplines a disobedient child: precisely because he does love that child and knows that if that child continues on his wayward path, only pain and suffering await him. He does it to turn the child from his own selfish, harmful ways.
“God disciplines us for our good . . . No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:10,12 NIV).
“Do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son” (Heb. 12:5,6 NIV).
“We have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!” (Heb. 12:9 NIV).
But this nation has not submitted. Instead, it has flaunted God’s laws and created new laws that defy those laws. Therefore, God must discipline such disobedience, for if it were to continue, the whole nation would go down to hell and its fires. And since this people and nation has paid no attention to the gentle voice of God, he sends more drastic measures as loving warnings, turning the land into a small foretaste of the hell that awaits it if it continues down its wayward path. There could hardly be a more dramatic, living demonstration of the hellish fate that awaits any nation that continually defies God:
“All the nations that forget God shall be turned into hell” (Ps. 9:17 KJV).
We in America experienced the truth of this Scripture in 2012. Much of this country was turned into a miniature taste of hell, because we forgot God and his many blessings upon this country.
“She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and the gold–which they used for Baal. Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine . . . I will punish her” (Hos. 2:8,9,13 NIV).
However, given the history of the flaunting of God’s laws in this land, we should not expect wholesale repentance. Due to the lack of such repentance, we should expect to see more of what we have seen this singular year of 2012. Be prepared to see even more violent events in nature upon this land, as well as violent and extreme actions of human beings. Evil will increase in the human arena, just as in the realm of nature.
We have forgotten God and are in danger of being a nation that is turned into hell. The only way of escape is to repent and turn back to God. Jesus Christ is the only way (Jn. 14:6).