Is this the End or just a New Beginning?
Bill Adams shares his thoughts on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the world’s climate and how God may be using all things for good.
Most of us may be wondering is this the end of this present world as the COVID 19 virus expands to virtually all corners of this planet. Every day we see reports of more and more people being infected with this virus and deaths rising in the same way. Is God allowing us to be punished for the excesses and selfishness that the population have lavished themselves with over the last decades? Many have, but not all. If we read Isaiah 26: 21 and the Book of Revelation together with passages in Matthew about the last days, some may think so.
But I don't think so, although there is daily news of tragedies, we can also receive encouragement from the same book that prophesies doom. In Psalm 91 encouragement is given. Quite remarkable, Isaiah 26: 20 also rings true.
I wonder if you would allow me to share something that I believe has been laid on my heart some weeks ago? I wanted to share it in the last service before the close down, but I was stopped from doing so due to a health issue. The question was put into my mind 'Is God destroying the world that he has created and loves?’ (John 3:16 ‘For God so loved the World....') or just putting right the damage that we have done to this planet and seem unwilling to save.
The leaders of the world met in Madrid in December 2019 to try and reach an agreement to limit the emission of CO2 gases into the atmosphere, but could not agree how to do this and delayed an agreement till the next meeting in Glasgow at the end of 2020. Climate Scientists had warned and announced that the world has 10 years to reduce CO2 emissions before we reach a point of no return and it may already be too late. In these currents events it seems that God may be doing what we are incapable to do, to save the thing that He loves so much, His creation, (remember John 3:16) our bibles also say 'what is impossible for man, is possible for God.'
Almost immediately after the failure to reach an agreement at the Madrid Conference the Corona Virus hit us. First in China, who are the world’s worst polluters producing 23% of the world's CO2 gases, followed by other eastern regional countries, then this spread to Iran, Italy and now the rest of Western Europe. The USA and Canada have not been spared, now recording greater numbers and increasing daily together with many other places throughout the world. America produces about 14% of the fossil fuel gases. The UK produces only about 1.7% of the fossil fuel gases and is one of the lowest, if not the lowest, in Europe. The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of the world’s CO2 gases. Air travel and road users also make up a large percentage.
A strange thing was noticed within 2 or 3 weeks after the lock down in China, perhaps added to by the virus being announced around their New Year holiday period which was extended from 2 weeks to 4 weeks, where most industries and travel had stopped. The normal pollution cloud that usually was permanently laying over Beijing had virtually disappeared, as seen by satellite photos (see photo attached), there was no heavy industries belching out smoke and no cars on the roads. This quite unusual happening was seen in other places, Korea and Japan after their cities were closed down. Following through to Italy and being seen now in Western Europe and America over the last few weeks. Travel and heavy industry has stopped and pollution has begun to diminish. People have begun to breath clean fresh air again.
But this has not been the only benefit, because many parents have been advised to stay at home, they may then began to re-discover the joy of family life, having to be locked-in with their children. They have to find ways of entertaining themselves and their children and not rely on pubs and shows or other organised events, just as I have to when as a child, there was no TV or computer then, just books and interaction with parents or siblings.
Governments are also taking responsibility to support people who cannot go to work, protecting their homes from eviction, providing money to enable them to buy food etc. Compassion and generosity seems to be supplied by most governments, just as well, as I think that God is watching to see what they do for the people that HE has given them authority over (Romans 13:1-2). There has been, from the news in this country, an outpouring of volunteering and retired medical staff returning to their work, churches and foodbanks providing free food to those in need. Air travel and holidays have been severely curtailed, as I know from personal experience, further saving use of fossil fuels. Although aircraft only produce about 2.7% of the total global pollution, but because they fly much higher, they do more damage to the upper atmosphere. Their flights have been cut by up to 75% further cleansing our atmosphere. Car and trade vehicles, which produced nearly 4% of air pollution, are not running and with this reduction, city smogs has been further greatly reduced. I've read recently that the ozone layer which had a hole over the Antarctic is gradually healing.
I believe God has brought about this dramatic change that WE on this planet have been struggling with for decades in what to do, and at such a small cost and in such a short period of time, I know that we will ultimately have to pay more taxes to refund the borrowing that this government has had to do, but at least we will have a world to live in, which hopefully we will allow to be cleansed. I also realise that there have been many deaths and this is tragic, as are all sudden deaths, and I don't want to diminish the pain that has been caused to the families affected. In statistical terms however, the total numbers are likely to be considerably smaller compared to the 50 million souls that died in 1918 after the Spanish Flu epidemic.
Surely God is giving us a chance to rethink our actions for the future and is watching to see who is giving help and support to those in need at this time. I thank God for caring about us so much that he has intervene at this time before it's too late, does he have to send his Son so soon to overcome our self indulgence. Christ said before being taken up to Heaven 'Will I find faith when I return?'
I finish again with the verse in Isaiah 26:20. which in some versions says 'Go home my people and lock your doors, hide yourself until the Lord's anger has passed.'