Why Does Nature Go To Extremes?

What in the world is happening with the weather? It seems like extremes are the new normal. California has gone in this season from years of drought to record rainfall and snow. In the Sierras at Tahoe there is already well over 400 inches of snowfall with us being only part way through the 2018-19 snow season. Yet in the last 18 months California has lost 27 million trees to drought. There is a Billy Joel song, called I Go To Extremes in which Joel asks himself the question, “Why do I go to extremes?” Well, why is the weather right now going to extremes?

Many point to this as the consequences of global warming caused by our abuse of the planet. There is no question we as mankind have not been good stewards of the planet, and extremes in weather are partially a consequence. From the beginning in the Garden, God instructed Adam to rule over creation on God’s behalf. Abuse of that stewardship is another consequence of our rebellion against God. We have exploited earth for our own purposes.

But I don’t think that rebellion of our stewardship fully marks the reasons for the extremes in weather. I think behind it is a God of mercy and justice who is likely speaking through what we call nature to warn us of the danger of our ways and warn of the soon coming judgment of God.

Throughout the history of mankind God has used the natural world as a voice to shout to us the dangers of our ways and the need to repent and turn to God. Droughts and floods have both been used by God to warn us. They were key tools of God in the history of Israel to warn and call to repentance. The Lord Jesus specifically mentioned droughts and earthquakes, evidence of disruption in the natural world, as warning signs of the soon coming of judgment (Matthew 24:7-8). Jesus describes these like birth pains of a pregnant woman.  The closer to birth, the more frequent and intense the birth pains. To me it is impossible to look at the 21st century and not describe it as the natural world going to extremes.

For we as disciples and the church of our Lord Jesus Christ, these extremes bring us to the awareness of how soon our Lord Jesus is coming for His church. They remind us how soon the night is coming in which we can no longer do the work of taking the Gospel to all nations and building up one another in the love and truth of knowing Jesus and becoming like Him. There are so many people even in our daily lives that are invisible to us, but clearly seen and passionately sought by our Lord Jesus. The effort of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God is to help us see, care about, and seek to reach those who are perishing in their sins. Go into daily life asking God to help you see people through Jesus’ eyes, to feel for them with Jesus’ heart, and to reach out to them by the Holy Spirit’s leading and enabling.

One way to help us keep focus is to use the news of how the weather and the natural world are going to extremes to remind us of what it means. The night of judgment is coming soon for those in this world, as well as the morning for the church of being taken up from earth and home to heaven for the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. May God find us faithful and hard at work in His harvest. May He help us to have eyes that see and hearts who care about the invisible in our world that we might reach them for our Lord Jesus Christ.

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