Australia has had the most amazing week of weather. Coming off the worst floods in Queensland in decades, this week’s weather in Australia has been extreme. North Queensland experienced its largest and fiercest cyclone in recorded history. Good management, good luck and maybe even answered prayers were the only reasons that the cyclone did not cause more devastation and loss of life. Heavy rain from the cyclone was experienced as far west as Alice Springs and as far south as Melbourne. In Sydney we have just experienced our continually hottest week on record, with seven days over 30 degrees and with quite a few in that spell over 40. Last Saturday was the hottest night ever recorded in Sydney, with the mercury tipping 30 degrees at midnight. Finally, rather severe bush fires have scorched Perth, with over 70 homes lost and a dozen people hospitalized by smoke inhalation. And then in my safe little street in Eastwood, one of our dear residents in her late seventies was attacked repeatedly in morning daylight by a possum, leaving her in hospital with scratches, abrasions and a smashed hip that had to be replaced, from the fall that followed the attack. As I have shared this story I have been repeatedly told that possums do not attack. But at least one seems to do so in my street!
One Australian apologist for the Christian faith expressed what many fear when he asked, “What have we done wrong?” Others are asking, "Are we living in the last days?"
Actually the Bible continually warns that we are living in the last days. Firstly, yes the clock is ticking in terms of the life of this planet. We enjoy an incredible window called life but it will not be open forever. Whether it is our own stupidity and mismanagement, or whether it will simply be a more natural cycle, one day our window of life on this planet will come to a close. If the date is fixed then every day brings us closer. Much more importantly our own days are numbered, with every one exhausting our limited supply. Some will become morbid at such a thought; others will be convinced that distraction and denial are easier companions.
The Bible challenges us to respond to our finite reality:
We are called to be thankful for every breath we enjoy.
We are called to be responsible with our limited resources
We are called to be wise and manage what we have with care.
We are called to bless those around us with the time we have.
We are called to plan for our life beyond.
“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions; your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” Acts 2: 17-21