The morning after a presidential debate, debating the winners and losers usually dominates the news cycle. Not so this morning.
Political commentators are weighing in, with opinions as numerous as the candidates. But the story everyone is talking about this morning is the bomb scare in Los Angeles. Officials sent 660,000 students home yesterday. They are returning to class today after law enforcement personnel searched school campuses and the FBI determined the threat was not credible.
Let’s count the financial cost of the threat.
Consider wages lost as parents left work to pick up their children. In California, the minimum wage is currently nine dollars an hour (though a pending bill would raise it to fifteen dollars per hour). So at the very least, $79.2 million in wages were lost because of the threat.
These figures do not account for the amount of taxpayer dollars spent for authorities to search 1,531 school properties. For perspective, it cost a New Hampshire police force $13,000 to search a single bus in a 2010 bomb scare.
The even larger cost may be psychological. Will children going to school in Los Angeles feel safe today? How will their parents feel? The New York City school district received a similar threat, but its leaders chose not to close. Will its constituents support this decision?
If New York City and Los Angeles schools can be targeted, any school district can be targeted. If San Bernardino can be attacked, any town can be attacked. FBI Director James Comey recently told a Senate hearing that the U.S. is facing its greatest terror threat since 9/11.
How should we respond?
The goal of terrorists is obviously to terrorize. John Lahr is right: “The real goal of terror is not to kill people but to kill thought; to so demoralize a society that it implodes from within.” So how do we refuse to be terrorized?
One: Name your greatest fears today. Put them into words. Separate them, lest they feed on each other. Be specific.
Two: Give your fears to your Father. Visualize yourself before his throne, placing them into his hands. Claim his promise to be “with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Three: Ask God to show you the next steps you should take. Be practical. Refuse to live in the future, for it does not exist. Your Lord is the “I Am,” not “I Was” or “I Will Be.” Ask him to guide and protect you today.
Four: Step into your day with confidence in your Father’s providence, provision, and power.
When Gabriel asked Mary to risk her future and even her life by becoming the mother of the Son of God, he assured her that “nothing will be impossible with God.” So Mary responded, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:37-38).
If nothing was impossible with God then, the same is true today. Do you agree?