Two weeks ago, we observed an odd coloring to the sky. The murky yellow haze looked even more sickening than the smog that sometimes covers Athens. Then on our way out to the beach, we saw what sullied the sky. Mount Pendeli, 25km (15 miles) away, was on fire. Smoke obliterated the sun by day, and at night it turned the moon deep red, reminding me of the apocalyptic verse in Revelation 6: "the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood." High winds quickly spread the blaze and caused a blizzard of ash to snow upon us.
This was near the beginning of a 6-day sequence of widespread forest fires that ravaged nearly half a million acres of Greece's forest and olive groves, destroying homes and livelihoods, and killing 65 people.
Today the sky is clear, and I thank God for keeping my family and friends safe--friends who saw flames miraculously quenched at their doorsteps. There is no longer any smell of smoke or coating of ash outdoors. Everything appears to be back to normal. But is "normal" so good?
Normal. People who, under normal circumstances, would not have given their Creator a thought, cried out to Him when they found themselves engulfed in flames.
Back to normal. Does that mean the hearts of the greedy land developers, on whom much of the arson was blamed, remain unrepentant? It's scary to think that these individuals are free to commit such conscienceless acts again. How they can continue on in their wickedness, how anyone can persist in doing wrong is explained in 2 Chronicles 12:14: ". . . he did evil because he prepared not his heart to seek God."
The Greek government is blamed for not taking better control during the fires. Maybe they could have done more, been quicker in their efforts to stave off disaster. But the One ultimately in control is God. And unless people turn from their self-centered lives to Jesus Christ, tragedy will become routine.