The News Dropped Like a Bomb
A strange thing happened a week ago when the media dropped a “bombshell” story. It turned out to be true.
Iran was launching bombs at military bases in Iraq where U.S. troops are stationed.
Our son is at one of them.
For a few hours Tuesday night, things got very real.
Our son joined the South Carolina National Guard right out of high school. It enables him to serve his country while going through college and helping to pay for his education. Over the last four years, he’s had to skip a semester or two when deployed, then he returns and jumps back into his college life. His is not a full-time gig, where we worry about his assignments and his suddenly being deployed. We always know and can plan.
These are luxuries our full-time military mostly doesn’t enjoy. And as we saw last week, when our heroes are needed in the field for a sudden emergency, it can be go-time with less than 18 hours’ notice.
That is truly sacrificial living—for our soldiers and their families.
Tuesday night reminded me not to take these Americans for granted. They deserve our profound thanks and gratitude.
The whole episode also made me wonder (again!) at how much technology has changed every single thing. When I turned on the news Tuesday, after a deep breath and a prayer for protection, I immediately thought: text him.
Right there shows, I think, how technology has made life almost surreal. In the middle of what might have been total chaos, I’m thinking a) he likely has his iPhone on him, and b) why not ask him to stop whatever he’s doing (read: no doubt serious!) and shoot his mom a text?
(It’s kind of outlandish to assume even in the midst of some high-stakes drama that a working iPhone will nonetheless be accessible and answerable. But that’s circa 2020.)
So I texted him.
“Hey, buddy—news here says bombs are dropping. You okay?” (It’s like he was running an errand to Walmart, for heaven’s sake. But what else could I say, really?_
A few heart-pounding moments later, I got what I was after: “I am fine.”
It was more than enough.
It got me thinking about families since the dawn of time, enduring long wars and years of separation. What would they have done to confirm their loved ones were safe—in real time? It’s just an incredible blessing.
And speaking of blessings, Tuesday was a tangible reminder that faith requires testing.
When I first turned on the news that night, I had that sick, helpless feeling every parent confronts at some point—that feeling you just can’t get to your kid when they need you.
Whether it’s them wandering off in a store when they’re really little or making wrongheaded (sometimes devastating) decisions the older they get, or simply leaving home, parenthood is realizing no matter how tight your grip, it’s never enough and you don’t hold them for long.
It can consume you if you let it.
But God’s Word is pretty clear that worry is a gigantic waste of time. “Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan?” we’re reminded in Matthew 6:27.
We all know it’s nearly impossible not to fret, especially when we’re fretting about our children. But God does offer a way to handle it: Him.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” it says in Philippians 4:6-7.
I felt that peace Tuesday night, heard a gentle reminder that when the bombs drop, when the awful news comes, when the diagnosis is dire and the answers are few, these are the times that faith takes feet.
It steps up and is active.
And when you look around, you see evidence of tested faith abounding.
TobyMac is living his out loud. The Christian rapper just released a crushing new song dedicated to his 21-year-old son, Truett Foster McKeehan, who died unexpectedly in October.
As TobyMac wrote on social media, “‘21 Years’ is a song I wrote about the recent passing of my firstborn son. ... Until something in life hits you this hard, you never know how you will handle it. I am thankful that I have been surrounded by love, starting with God’s and extending to community near and far that have walked with us and carried us every day. Writing this song felt like an honest confession of the questions, pain, anger, doubt, mercy, and promise that describes the journey I’m probably only beginning. One thing I know is that I am not alone. God didn’t promise us a life of no pain or even tragic death, but He did promise He would never leave us or forsake us. And I’m holding dearly to that promise for my son, as well as myself.”
None of us escapes life devoid of bombshells. Whether literal or not, life drops unplanned events into all our lives.
One thing to me is clear—our Great Creator is not surprised. And He never wants us to handle these explosions alone.