Forest fires are a good metaphor for the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church. People ask if we can’t let Him burn, but somewhere else where He’s not ruining our own view and scaring us and taking out our comfy houses? Fire is purification.
Concerning natural disasters and judgment, never would any of our Christian fathers of past centuries have hesitated, let alone condemned, connecting them with their own and others’ sin. What’s telling is our squeamishness over drawing the line directly from natural disasters (earthquakes) to God’s wrath/judgment/punishment while endlessly drawing the line directly from natural blessings (good weather, rain, bountiful crops) to God’s love/kindness/mercy/goodness/blessing.
Scripture is absolutely filled with God Himself telling us warning us promising us that His actions in the present are directly tied to our sins/righteousness. And I suspect we all think this way concerning ourselves and our loved ones at home or church. We just don’t want to testify to God’s perfections and agency among pagans, I’m guessing. Do any of the rest of you live in dread of our land vomiting us out as God warned the sons of Israel the Promised land would do to them if they committed the same sins that had led to the land vomiting out the Canaanites right before? Love,