For the last several weeks here in Alberta, we have been under a thick blanket of smoke that has traveled over the Rockies from over five hundred wild fires burning in our neighbouring province of British Columbia. The financial toll of fighting those fires continues to grow and there is a state of emergency in B.C. for many communities who are on evacuation alerts. My prayers have been with all the first responders and those brave firefighters who are on the front lines combatting the raging fires. I can’t even imagine the terrible conditions those men and women face daily. To say that I am grateful for their service is a vast understatement!
Here on the Ponderosa, I haven’t seen our beloved mountain view due to smoke for weeks and even though the temperature has been 30 C or better on most days, sitting out on the deck to take advantage of the warmth has been nearly impossible. The smoke permeates the air, making it difficult to see and breathe during the day and making it impossible to sleep at night. I can’t seem to rid my home of the constant campfire smell. Both my husband and I are hacking and coughing and we don’t even suffer as others who might have asthma and the like. Our air quality here in Calgary and the surrounding area has hit new records of bad. Again, I can’t imagine how people are handling the conditions on the doorstep of some of these terrible fires. Someone said that this may be our new “normal” every year. We cannot seem to stop wildfires from beginning from lightening strikes, but what is distressing is how many fires are started by human carelessness.
I find that the air quality and smoke is very claustrophobic. I have never felt it this badly before. The sun is this red ball in the sky, and the blood, red moon rises eerily at night. Animals at the zoo are being given oxygen to help them breathe. Children play indoors. It is an oppressive atmosphere that has many in a foul mood, myself included.
Last week, I got into a conversation with someone who commented that they wondered if this was one of the signs of the Apocalypse. I laughed at first, but her comments stayed with me for a long time. I’m not an expert in “end times” events, although I know there are many that are pointing towards world events now and aligning them with prophesies in the Bible. I know Jesus will return one day and I long for that day, but I don’t know the hour, so I pray I will be found ready and prepared for His return. Still, I couldn’t help think that there are those who are NOT ready and if they have been struggling with the effects of smoke and fire over the past few weeks, they have no concept of what awaits them if they continue to reject Christ!
I have a wise friend who is praying that these smoky conditions will prompt more people to think about end times. Perhaps this will spur people to seek the Truth of God’s Word, and the saving knowledge of the Gospel so they will escape the eternal fires of hell.
“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 13:40-43
In Scripture, fire represents the literal fire of God’s wrath and destruction, to the symbolic imagery of vision, baptism and judgement. Fire from heaven reigned down upon Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 19:24) Fire is a refining element. (1 Corinthians 3:13) Smoke and fire have been indicative of God’s presence. (Exodus 19:18; Exodus 24:17; Isaiah 6:4) Fire symbolizes baptism, and the coming of the Holy Spirit. (Luke 3:16; Matthew 3: 11-12; Acts 2:3-4).
God’s Word is powerful. I am thankful to know that our Sovereign God is in control even in the midst of the fire and smoke!