Will the killing of US soldiers lead to another Middle East war?

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Will the killing of US soldiers lead to “another war in the Middle East”?

January 30, 2024 -

In this image provided by The White House, President Joe Biden receives the Presidential Daily Briefing, Monday, Jan. 29, 2024, in the White House Situation Room at the White House in Washington, as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin listens. (Adam Schultz/The White House via AP)

In this image provided by The White House, President Joe Biden receives the Presidential Daily Briefing, Monday, Jan. 29, 2024, in the White House Situation Room at the White House in Washington, as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin listens. (Adam Schultz/The White House via AP)

In this image provided by The White House, President Joe Biden receives the Presidential Daily Briefing, Monday, Jan. 29, 2024, in the White House Situation Room at the White House in Washington, as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin listens. (Adam Schultz/The White House via AP)

How will history view the killing of three Americans in a drone attack on a US outpost in Jordan last Sunday?

US officials said yesterday that air defenses failed to stop the attack because the hostile drone homed in on its target at the same time an American drone was returning to the base. This prompted confusion over whether the incoming drone was friend or foe, delaying the activation of air defenses. The drone struck living quarters for the troops, wounding dozens in addition to the three fatalities.

A Pentagon spokesman on Monday blamed the attack on an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-backed militia and said the US was working to determine which one. “Iran continues to arm and equip these groups to launch these attacks, and we will certainly hold them responsible,” she said.

The tragedy marks the first time American troops have been killed by enemy fire in the Middle East since the Gaza war began.

Now, as the Wall Street Journal reports, “the Biden administration said it wants to respond forcefully enough to deter Iran’s allies from conducting further attacks on US forces without getting bogged down in another war in the Middle East.”

“The pivots of history are microscopic”

I have no way to know if this deadly attack will lead to greater escalation in the region and even a world war involving the US and Iran. But I do know that “the pivots of history are microscopic,” as Charles Spurgeon observed.

And I do know that nothing that happens next will surprise the omniscient Lord of the universe or deter his omnipotent power and sovereign purposes in our world.

We have his word on this:

From the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lᴏʀᴅ of hosts (Malachi 1:11).

Here’s the paradox: on one hand, God is already the “King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God” (1 Timothy 1:17a). On the other, we must choose to give him “honor and glory” (v. 17b) by crowning him our king each day.

“Some of us just go one god further”

However, from the dawn of Western culture to today, our bias has been to ignore his existence or to treat him as a transactional means to our ends. When I taught the history of Western philosophy, I identified Thales of Miletus (c. 626–c. 545 BC) as the first philosopher because he championed naturalistic explanations for the observable world over Greek religious traditions.

The secularist worldview he advocated continues today. According to a new Pew Research Center report, 28 percent of Americans say they are atheists, agnostics, or “nothing in particular.” If these “nones” were a denomination, they would be the largest in the US.

The skeptic Richard Dawkins spoke for many when he wrote in The God Delusion, “We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”

If we do believe in God (or the gods), many of us approach them as religious consumers purchasing what they have to “sell.” The Greeks sacrificed on the altars of the deities whose blessings they sought. We go to church on Sunday so God will bless us on Monday.

I think I know one reason why.

“The core truth of our existence”

When God is our distant ruler, we approach him as dutiful subjects or religious consumers. But when he is our loving Father, we experience him as his beloved children.

Henri Nouwen wrote:

As long as “being the Beloved” is little more than a beautiful thought or a lofty idea that hangs above my life to keep me from becoming depressed, nothing really changes. What is required is to become the Beloved in the commonplaces of my daily existence, and bit by bit to close the gap that exists between what I know myself to be and the countless realities of everyday life. Becoming the Beloved is pulling the truth revealed to me from above down into the ordinariness of what I am thinking of, talking about, and doing from hour to hour.

He added:

“Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”

Do you agree?

If not, why not?

NOTE: I’m grateful for the many readers like you who’ve already requested our newest book, Awaken My Heart: A Lent Devotional. If you’ve yet to request your copy, please download this free excerpt (PDF). If you find it beneficial in guiding you toward the Father this Lenten season, please request your copy of Awaken My Heart today.


Tuesday news to know

Quote for the day

“Our lives are unique stones in the mosaic of human existence—priceless and irreplaceable.” —Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

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