In 2007 the BBC reported that a scientist in the USA, Professor Wieslaw Maslowski, had forecast that by the summer of 2013 the Arctic would be ice-free. Other scientists agreed with this forecast, which was based on super-computer models. This summer 20 yachts tried to sail the Northwest Passage, which links the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. All these vessels are presently stuck in the ice because the Northwest Passage has remained ice-bound and impassable all summer. The Arctic ice sheet has grown this summer by a million square miles, an increase of 60% on last year.
In the Bible we read of the sufferings of Job. He was a good man who experienced great personal tragedy in his life. The book of Job records his struggle to understand why these things had happened to him. His so-called “comforters” told him his sufferings were God’s punishment on his sins. Then God appears to Job and answers his questions by asking him questions. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone – while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?”
Then God highlights all the amazing features of the heavens and earth which he has created, including ice. He asks Job, “From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen?” Job’s humble response to all God says is, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. My ears had heard of you but now my eyes see you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
This wonderful universe was created by God and he continues to uphold it in his perfect wisdom. Despite everything people do which is environmentally damaging God’s creation remains amazingly stable. The understanding of the greatest of men is very small and partial. Early modern scientists, encouraged by their faith in God, were conscious of “thinking God’s thoughts after him.” Like Job, we, too, need to find God in the perplexing experiences of our lives. He is gracious and compassionate and very kind. Sometimes out of the pain and struggles of life we come to know God’s presence and comfort in a new way.