2019: Too Hot to Handle

By Sara, Dec 2019

In December 2018, I sent this text message to the COBS team:

““In the past years, we see a lot of water – in natural or manmade disasters, freak weather and so on. But from now on, it will move from water to fire. Hot Fire. Water and Fire. I feel so hot. Things are going to get very hot…” 


Temperatures Rise at Home and in Asia

In Feb 2019, Singapore experienced the 3rd hottest month it has seen in 90 years. 

In April, Vietnam observed its highest temperature ever recorded: 110° F/ 43.4° C.

Bali, one of my favourite holiday destination, closed its airport several times as Mount Agung erupts over again and again. Several other volcanoes started erupting in Indonesia, which sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire; home to the greatest volcano eruption of all time, Mt Krakatao in 1883, the deadliest and most destructive ever in recorded history. 

Lord, have mercy on us.


15/4/19, The Notre Dame burns

Eyes glued to the TV screen in my hotel room in London, my husband and I watched in aghast as the Notre Dame burned. With heavy hearts, Parisians choke back tears, as the spire of this magnificent cathedral toppled in a fiery inferno…


Fortunately, they had managed to rescue from the burning cathedral, along with the tunic of Saint Louis, the Crown of Thorns which was believed to be the one placed on Jesus’ head.

Meanwhile, The Daily Mail reports that Jerusalem’s revered Al-Asqa Mosque was struck by a blaze that broke out the same time.


A Fiery Easter

I spent a serene Easter at the St Paul’s Cathedral in London, hours after a series of bomb blasts tore through churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka, killing more than 250, injuring another 500. A terrorist attack by Muslim extremists, this is the worst violence to hit since its devastating civil war ended a decade ago. 

Only a few days before that, our Free Tour’s guide in Prague mentioned that she and her family were planning a vacation in Sri Lanka. Instinctively, I immediately uttered without thinking, “Is it safe?” The guide was very sure it is.

It all seemed a very unsafe year to travel and I have been on the road much more than I had bargained. Not taking anything for granted, I pray for guidance and permission for every trip I make and for divine protection over my loved ones living overseas.


And in Europe…

Europe saw a heatwave in July, setting all time high temperature records in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. It followed the June European heat wave, which killed at least 13 people, plus thousands of animals, with France recording its highest temperature ever at 45.9°. 

A spokeswoman for the UN Meteorological Organization commented: “One of the remarkable things about the 2019 heatwave is not just the number of records it broke across Europe – but by the margin by which it did so. Normally, it is just by a fraction of a degree. What we saw was records being broken by two, three, four degrees – it was absolutely incredible.”

On Aug 22, 2019, The Washington Post warns of yet another heatwave coming to Europe, with temperatures soaring as high as 20° above average, a cause of concern as a heatwave had caught them unprepared in 2003, when temperatures rose 13° above the average normal for the region, killing at least 30,000 people, with some estimates as high as 70,000.


So Hot that the Arctic is Melting

The heatwave that started from the Sahara, bowling into Europe, is now rolling into Greenland, which is the world’s second largest ice sheet. And when it melts significantly, it also makes a significant impact on sea levels and extreme weather across the world. 

In July, new agencies start to report that so much of the Arctic is on fire that you can see it from space. Satellite photos show massive swaths of the Arctic engulfed in flames in, which experts says, that while they are common in the northern hemisphere in summer, but the intensity and longevity of these fires is unusual. This year also marks the first glacier in Greenland to have melted. 


Things Getting Even Hotter in the Second Half

Hong Kong

June 2019: Hong Kong street protests start and turned increasingly violent in the next 4 months, with no end in sight as yet while the world waits and see what China will do. 



Aug 2019: The Amazon in Brazil, the world’s largest rainforest absorbing more than 20% of the world’s carbon dioxide, burns and continues to burn even now in October. Experts say it may take centuries for it to recover. 


Southeast Asia

Sep 2019: Forests in Kalimantan and Sumatra burn again, after a 3-year lull, sending the toxic haze back to South East Asia including Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. In October, Reuters quoted forest fire officials saying that by the end of September, 857,756 hectares of forests have been burnt, more than the 529,267 burned in 2018. The New Straits Times, quoting a respected research group, put it at 1.6 million hectares of land burnt to date. 

CNN reported that nearly 920,000 people in Indonesia were treated for respiratory problems, not to mention the harm it has caused to mammals, birds and fauna; with the population of orangutans, an endangered species of apes protected by law, halved in the last 40 years. Sadly, this disaster is believed to be mostly caused by palm oil farmers clearing land using slash and burn methods in order to make more money.



Nov 14, 2019: The Daily Mail headlines screamed: “The 1000 km wall of flames: Out-of-control bushfire stretches across 150,000 hectares as wave of devastation spreads from Queensland to Sydney – and ‘catastrophic’ conditions are only going to get worse for the next week.” I looked at all the photos with a sinking feeling, the words of the Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons ringing in my ears, “It’s going to be a long, difficult season, about a million hectares of land had already been scorched in the biggest firefront ever recorded in Australia.”

Wild Animals Australia said in a Facebook post: “Looking at these images is hard enough and then you realise that this is a persons/animals reality today. Just to put in perspective how devastating the Eastern Australian bushfires are - When the Brazilian amazon rainforest went up in flames, it burnt 125,000 hectares this year. Australia has so far lost 970,000 hectares. It’s only going to get worse.”


21 Nov, 2019: Isaiah 51 Re-visited

I went back to read Isaiah 51, which YY saw on 11/11/15, with a heavy heart. 

Is this the cup of God’s wrath? Thankfully, it also speaks of His deliverance and protection. Yes, A is for Assurance.

Still, I cannot wait for 2019 to end …. this year has been really too hot to handle. 


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