It was (was it not) intriguing: while a rainbow materialized above the former site of the World Trade Center on the eve of September 11, just before commemoration of the most famous terrorist act in modern U.S. history, that horrid attack by forces of evil, last Friday -- on September 11 itself -- severe storms, including tremendous lightning, struck the holiest site in Islam -- Mecca -- causing collapse of construction scaffolding and the death of more than a hundred worshippers.

Our hearts go out to those who died and their loved ones as we wonder about the irony: 9/11, of course, was at the hands of radical Islamists; they revere Mecca. Was the lightning a warning to them by God that further such terrorist actions and persecution of Christians will provoke Him to more bolts of lightning -- anger?

The engineer for the construction, Saudi Binladin Group -- a building company owned by Osama Bin Laden's family, which is carrying out a massive expansion of the mosque -- told AFP News Service the crane, like many others on the project, had been there for three or four years without any problem.

"It was not a technical issue at all," said an engineer, who asked not to be identified. "I can only say that what happened was beyond the power of humans. It was an act of God and, to my knowledge, there was no human fault in it at all." As the newswire reported, authorities are investigating the tragedy, which occurred as hundreds of thousands of Muslims from around the world were gathering for the annual hajj pilgrimage.

Lightning versus rainbow. At the same time as these events, Israel encountered what was described as the most severe dust storm since its formation as a nation in 1948.

Takes a moment to wrap one's arms around it. In Japan, meantime, the worst rainfall in memory flooded a city, causing hundreds of thousands to evacuate.

There is the term "worst" again.

Do we get the point?

Do we not see how God warns and how events "graduate" (gradually increase)? Fires in California -- with the secular media describing scenes of the aftermath as "post-apocalyptic."

What if anything did it mean when, within hours of Benedict's announcement of retirement from the Vatican, lightning famously struck St. Peter's?

Japan is now secular to the point of almost total unbelief. Meantime, while the rainbow seemed like a good sign -- at least as consolation in the families of 9/11 victims -- there was also, and again on the same day, a story in the news based on an interview with a minister in Manhattan who says that instead of causing New Yorkers to go to God, he has found the opposite: more resistance to the Gospel than before the attack. Not a good omen.

God was showing some mercy upon Manhattan.

But will this last?

[See also: Michael H. Brown retreat, spiritual warfare, our prophetic times, Cincinnati, September 19 and Announcing a retreat in Shreveport, La.]