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Paradise Lost

Paradise FireIt’s mid-November, and there are bushfires. If you’ve been paying attention, that shouldn’t come as a great surprise - it was only five years ago that the Blue Mountains went up in flames during October, and other fires burned all over the state. But what is unusual is that this time, the fire is on the wrong side of the equator, in California, only a few weeks before the start of winter.

Meanwhile, on the east coast, kids in the ‘Garden State’ of New Jersey slept at their school. The snow was so bad they couldn’t get home, and their parents couldn’t collect them. The worst snowstorm in 136 years.

‘Mother Nature’ can give mothers a bad name. We can understand the ups and downs of the weather, and live with the seasons, but still the extreme conditions, when they strike, take us unawares - and tragedy can result.

We’re right to expect better, because the Creator made the world to work better than this. The variety of summer and winter was meant to beautify the planet. Autumn’s leaves, spring’s blossoms... It could have been so good. Yet now we suffer the grinding of the gears as the broken world turns, and turns, year after year marred by human sin, and the loss of our paradise in Eden. The word ‘paradise’ has twisted for us; originally, the literal meaning was a walled precinct. And now we’re stranded on the outside.

But there is a narrow gate in, just the one way. We can shelter from the storm, and stand firm when the earth shakes. Paradise has been regained for us, and Jesus now holds the keys to let us in. We can go home, in the Garden City, or try to rebuild Paradise on our own - but only one of these will last.

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