GAIL LETHBRIDGE: Pestilence, war, scarcity — one shock after another rocks our world

Satan works through the elements also to garner his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows. When he was suffered to afflict Job, how quickly flocks and herds, servants, houses, children, were swept away, one trouble succeeding another as in a moment. It is God that shields His creatures and hedges them in from the power of the destroyer. But the Christian world have shown contempt for the law of Jehovah; and the Lord will do just what He has declared that He would—He will withdraw His blessings from the earth and remove His protecting care from those who are rebelling against His law and teaching and forcing others to do the same. Satan has control of all whom God does not especially guard. He will favor and prosper some in order to further his own designs, and he will bring trouble upon others and lead men to believe that it is God who is afflicting them. GC 589.2

Gail Lethbridge · Columnist | Posted: June 4, 2022, 6 a.m. | Updated: June 4, 2022, 7:21 a.m. | 4 Min ReadBruce MacKinnon’s editorial cartoon for Nov. 27, 2021.

1 in 6 Germans skipping meals to save money – poll

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We could all soon be wishing for those simpler days of early pandemic lockdowns and toilet paper shortages.

Back then, our job was to “stay the blazes home,” in the immortal words of former premier Stephen McNeil. 

Not to understate the fear we felt in that spring of 2020 as we plunged into the COVID-19 pandemic with its many unknowns and absence of vaccines, but two years later, our problems have compounded.

We are still in a pandemic and people are still dying from COVID, but the situation is now orders of magnitude more complicated and frightening. 

While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation. Even now he is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous. Destruction will be upon both man and beast. “The earth mourneth and fadeth away,” “the haughty people … do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” Isaiah 24:4, 5.
And then the great deceiver will persuade men that those who serve God are causing these evils. The class that have provoked the displeasure of Heaven will charge all their troubles upon those whose obedience to God’s commandments is a perpetual reproof to transgressors. It will be declared that men are offending God by the violation of the Sunday sabbath; that this sin has brought calamities which will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced; and that those who present the claims of the fourth commandment, thus destroying reverence for Sunday, are troublers of the people, preventing their restoration to divine favor and temporal prosperity. Thus the accusation urged of old against the servant of God will be repeated and upon grounds equally well established: “And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim.” 1 Kings 18:17, 18. As the wrath of the people shall be excited by false charges, they will pursue a course toward God’s ambassadors very similar to that which apostate Israel pursued toward Elijah. GC 589.3 – GC 590.1

The darkest hour came when the Ukrainian city of Mariupol was incinerated and wiped off the face of the Earth by Vladimir Putin’s army.

And if that hasn’t touched us personally, then here’s the rest of it: skyrocketing inflation, energy shocks and climate change have all conspired to batter global supply chains, reshaping our world in ways we couldn’t have imagined in March of 2020.

Other than Mariupol, one of the most terrifying ripples from all of this is the damage inflicted on the global food supply.

When you see a cover story entitled “The Coming Food Catastrophe” in The Economist magazine — a media source not normally prone to hysteria — you can be forgiven for breaking out in a cold sweat. The magazine and many other credible sources cite a perfect storm of events which have collided to push the world to the brink of something awful.

When you see a cover story entitled “The Coming Food Catastrophe” in The Economist magazine — a media source not normally prone to hysteria — you can be forgiven for breaking out in a cold sweat. The magazine and many other credible sources cite a perfect storm of events which have collided to push the world to the brink of something awful.

The line of distinction between professed Christians and the ungodly is now hardly distinguishable. Church members love what the world loves and are ready to join with them, and Satan determines to unite them in one body and thus strengthen his cause by sweeping all into the ranks of spiritualism. Papists, who boast of miracles as a certain sign of the true church, will be readily deceived by this wonder-working power; and Protestants, having cast away the shield of truth, will also be deluded. Papists, Protestants, and worldlings will alike accept the form of godliness without the power, and they will see in this union a grand movement for the conversion of the world and the ushering in of the long-expected millennium.
Through spiritualism, Satan appears as a benefactor of the race, healing the diseases of the people, and professing to present a new and more exalted system of religious faith; but at the same time he works as a destroyer. His temptations are leading multitudes to ruin. Intemperance dethrones reason; sensual indulgence, strife, and bloodshed follow. Satan delights in war, for it excites the worst passions of the soul and then sweeps into eternity its victims steeped in vice and blood. It is his object to incite the nations to war against one another, for he can thus divert the minds of the people from the work of preparation to stand in the day of God.
Satan works through the elements also to garner his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows. When he was suffered to afflict Job, how quickly flocks and herds, servants, houses, children, were swept away, one trouble succeeding another as in a moment. It is God that shields His creatures and hedges them in from the power of the destroyer. But the Christian world have shown contempt for the law of Jehovah; and the Lord will do just what He has declared that He would—He will withdraw His blessings from the earth and remove His protecting care from those who are rebelling against His law and teaching and forcing others to do the same. Satan has control of all whom God does not especially guard. He will favor and prosper some in order to further his own designs, and he will bring trouble upon others and lead men to believe that it is God who is afflicting them. GC 588.3 – GC 589.2

Leaders and food policy analysts in a position to assess the global situation are struggling to find superlatives to describe our circumstances.

A couple of weeks ago, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned of “the spectre of a global food shortage.” He said this will push millions of people into “malnutrition, mass hunger and famine.”

The World Food Programme also sounded alarm bells. “If we do not address the situation immediately over the next nine months, we will see famine, we will see destabilization of nations and we will see mass migration,” said director David Beasley.

“It’s difficult to overstate the magnitude of our concerns,” said Caitlin Welsh, director of the global food security program at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The calamities by land and sea, the unsettled state of society, the alarms of war, are portentous. They forecast approaching events of the greatest magnitude. The agencies of evil are combining their forces and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones.—Testimonies for the Church 9:11 (1909). LDE 11.2

OK.

Ukraine and Russia are major bread baskets, producing more than a quarter of the world’s wheat, which is exported to countries such as Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, Turkey and Somalia and which are now in a state of dire food insecurity.

Before the pandemic, it was estimated that 135 million people worldwide suffered from severe food insecurity. Now that number is 276 million. This is a 15-year high.

With production and exports stalled by the war, wheat prices have soared more than 50 per cent. Other major wheat producers are facing crop threats — they’ve been disrupted by floods (China) and drought (India). 

Canada is also a major wheat producer and in a position to fill the gap. But Canadian wheat farmers are also dealing with pressure from the costs of fertilizer — which have doubled — and the cost of diesel to run farm machinery and to move the crop to markets.

And people in Canada and Nova Scotia are also vulnerable to this crisis. This week, Feed Nova Scotia said it is facing a rise in demand fuelled by food inflation. Executive director Nick Jennery said the organization distributed three million kilograms of food last year, setting a record.

He says food security in Nova Scotia is heading for a heightened crisis.

Jennery and other food security advocates are pushing for a provincewide school lunch program to feed children who are going hungry. Experts are also encouraging the government to improve the province’s ability to feed itself by boosting the agricultural sector.

All of this is made more frightening by the fact that every single expert is telling us that the global food crisis is going to get worse — much worse — before it gets better.

The world is becoming more and more lawless. Soon great trouble will arise among the nations—trouble that will not cease until Jesus comes.—The Review and Herald, February 11, 1904.
We are on the very verge of the time of trouble, and perplexities that are scarcely dreamed of are before us.—Testimonies for the Church 9:43 (1909).
We are standing on the threshold of the crisis of the ages. In quick succession the judgments of God will follow one another—fire, and flood, and earthquake, with war and bloodshed.—Prophets and Kings, 278 (c. LDE 12.3 – LDE 12.5

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