Some believe an omniscient omnipotent benevolent Being guides and sustains everything. Often they're also wont to observe He, She or It moves in mysterious ways – usually just after some god-awful tragedy.
Despite numerous things bright and beautiful, for many on the planet everyday life is an ongoing ordeal. But along comes yet one more nasty – this time Covid-19 – threatening to dump on one and all.
While mercifully not of Black Death proportions, it's certainly exacting an early demise for many, and generally put a bunch of king-size spanners in the works.
Yet could it just be one of those aforementioned mysterious ways – the proverbial cloud with the silver lining?
As Rosemary Penwarden highlighted in her excellent article in Monday's Chronicle , there's a much bigger bogeyman than coronavirus at large.
It's been crashing around the countryside in seven-league boots for some time now.
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But like Londoners in wartime Britain who grew blasé about deadly doodle-bugs whistling over their heads, we're still not seeing the main threat.
Sceptics may yawn, and wish it gone, but it doesn't get much deadlier than general climate collapse.
Flippant as it may seem, the raw reality is that coronavirus is good for the economy if you sensibly regard long-term survival as the economy goal that gazumps all other economy goals.
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It's a stark dress rehearsal for how things will have to be if we're to get our priorities right.
It's also a startling demonstration of how politicians, business leaders and general powers-that-be – plus many of the public - still don't get it when it comes to the main game.
The remarkable Greta Thunberg summed things up with her usual cutting perspicacity when recently addressing the World Economic Forum in Davos.
She compared the world leaders' collective non-action on reducing carbon emissions to intentionally ignoring flames of a house on fire despite children asleep down the hall.
The bottom line is that the fossil fuel-based economy has to change in short order, in the same way as earlier horse-powered transport gave way to the internal combustion engine.
Agricultural changes are a major part of the picture, too, but the immediacy lies in drastically reducing oil and coal based consumption.
That includes air travel and shipping – especially gratuitous tourist travel.
Air New Zealand's current cut-backs need to be the new norm.
It means reducing road vehicle usage.
It means limiting road construction in general.
It means curtailing a whole range of industries reliant on high carbon-emitting iron, steel, concrete and plastic production.
As once with the farrier, blacksmith, saddler, and wheelwright, many of today's jobs have to migrate into other skills, which is where Government has a legitimate role to play.
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The coronavirus response has necessarily involved curtailing commercial activity, but now there are shrill cries to "stimulate" the market, to halt the share market "slide", to "turn around" the economy.
But to do that means literally throwing more petrol on the culprit fossil fuel fires – with the planet already lagging behind required carbon reduction goals.
Times are tough, but missing the opportunity to meaningfully change will result in far worse.
This is the future. There's no real choice other than to seriously reduce, refuse, re-use and recycle – applicable also to population pressures and obscene military profligacy.
The sceptics contend we're too small to make a difference, that it needs the USA, China and the other big guns to fully commit. Which is true.
But if all the lesser carbon emitters chip in, the combined result can add up to a big gun and moral exemplar in its own right.
Although Covid-19 is exacting a heavy toll, containment is not out of the question.
But the climate change threat remains constant, and needs even greater trans-national response.
Should it be allowed to occur, the collapse of major eco-systems will trigger collateral damage of an order that will haunt humankind and future generations for an eon and beyond.
•Frank Greenall is a Whanganui-based contributor.