American Sniper’s wife answers ‘Where was God?’ question

On Friday, I watched the news like a lot of Americans as the U.S. military retaliated just a week after three Army reservists were killed by an Iran-backed militia attack in Jordan.

U.S. “forces struck more than 85 targets [at seven different locations in Syria and Iraq] including ‘command and control operations, centers, intelligence centers, rockets, and missiles, and unmanned aired vehicle storages, and logistics and munition supply chain facilities’ belonging to militia groups and their [Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] sponsors,” as the Guardian reported.

On Saturday, the U.S. and Britain joined together to strike 36 Houthi targets (at 13 more locations) in Yemen in a second wave of assaults.

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While political pundits debate whether or not the military retaliation fit the crime, I keep thinking of the three courageous souls and soldiers who gave up their lives. I equally think of their grieving families – how they feel right now and will feel long after this news cycle is over.

TRENDING: Joe the Swifty

(My family knows all about that heartache as my then 25-year-old brother Wieland was killed in Vietnam on June 3, 1970. Though it’s been over 50 years, I’ll never forget the moment I first heard. I still miss him badly.)

The three soldiers who were murdered a week ago by that Iran-backed militia drone attack were Sgt. William Rivers, 46; Sgt. Kennedy Sanders, 24; and Sgt. Breonna Moffett, 23. They were assigned to the 718 Engineer Company, an Army Reserve unit based out of Fort Moore, Georgia.

On Friday, the president and first lady joined grieving families at Dover Air Force Base for the dignified transfer of the three American service members.

“The only words spoken during the 15-minute dignified transfer, aside from the commands as each case was carried, were from an Air Force chaplain’s brief prayer, asking God for ‘grace and mercy,'” as the Associated Press reported.

My wife, Gena, and I send our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of these fallen warriors. We pray for all of their strength and peace in the midst of their loss and grief.

On Friday, we honored another military fallen hero: Chris Kyle, the “American Sniper” who was killed at a Texas gun range. Friday was the 11th anniversary of his tragic death.

As FOX 10 (Phoenix) reported, “Kyle was a U.S. Navy SEAL from 1999 to 2009. He is considered to be the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history and has had more than 160 confirmed kills during his four tours in Iraq.

“During his career, the decorated military veteran was shot twice, survived multiple helicopter crashes and was involved in six IED attacks.”

Chris Kyle is interviewed by Time magazine about his book, “American Sniper.”

Tragically, Kyle was killed not on a foreign battlefield but a U.S. practice-shooting range.

Kyle and his friend’s tragic deaths were explained by FOX: “More than a decade ago, on Feb. 2, 2013, retired Navy SEAL Chris Kyle was fatally shot along with a friend, Chad Littlefield, at a gun range in north Texas. Kyle was 38 years old when he died.

“Former Marine Eddie Ray Routh was later convicted of the murder of Kyle and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Family members said Routh suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from serving in Iraq and Haiti.”

I posted on my official Facebook page this tribute to Chris: “11 years ago today we lost an extraordinary American hero, Chris Kyle, also known as the American Sniper. Chris served this country with honor and bravery. I’d like us all to pay our respects and gratitude to Chris and all the men and women that have laid down their lives for our freedom. May we never forget their sacrifice.”

In Kyle’s honor, I wore my American Sniper shirt on Friday. If you’d like one too, go to americansniper.com. All proceeds go to help his family’s foundation: The Taya and Chris Kyle Foundation. Please also visit the website of his wife, Taya, who is now a New York Times bestselling author, who has written several books since Kyle’s passing.

Taya has often explained that Chad and her husband enjoyed spending time with veterans as a way to help them ease back into civilian life. That’s exactly what they were doing when they were gunned down on the Texas gun range.

On the 11th anniversary of the murders last Friday, she reflected on Instagram about her husband and her belief in God:

11 yrs since Chris and Chad were murdered in cold blood. I am no medical expert, but as I recall, in the murder trial, the psychiatrists on both the prosecution and defense testified the murderer had no trauma in his life, not in the military or outside of it. As I recall, he went to Taco Bell after the murders, then to get his dog and head out of state. He even answered Chad’s phone in Chris’s truck, which he drove away with.

There is no sense in it, no explanation. Where was God? God promises free will to all people, and He keeps His promises. Even people who choose to do evil with their free will have the choice. Where was God? He was with us. He was with you. He was with Chris and Chad. He was with all the broken-hearted people in the world. He was with babies being knitted in their mothers’ wombs, in celebrations, baptisms, joys, and pains.

He has shown more of Himself, His majesty, and love through every pain rippling out from the murders. The lawsuits all mercifully ended in our favor (one on appeal years after the original verdict – if you hadn’t heard). Rumors and hate have risen, fallen, and faded while God’s glory has grown. His love is magnified in my children’s and my hearts.

Some say faith is a crutch for the weak-minded, but my experience is the opposite. Each of us has a unique fingerprint and voice that are not replicated in any other person in all time. We have unique gifts and challenges that can either strengthen or destroy us. All of us are irreplaceable. YOU are irreplaceable.

There will never be another Chris. If God is writing a symphony with our lives, Chris played the notes he was given, and we have ours. God builds and softens our music in and after our lives on earth. I have heaven to look forward to and true joy in my heart because the pain did not destroy us. It hurt us, and God used it to bless us. He will do the same for you.

I used to say I could not wait to see Chris in heaven, but maybe that isn’t accurate. I can wait because time passes, God heals, and I have a beautiful life here, maybe not despite the pain, but perhaps because of it. I love our Creator with all of me. He makes all the difference.

Very well said, Taya!

One thing we know for sure about all of our fallen servicemen and servicewomen: they show us what sacrificial love is.

Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: that one lay down his or her life for others.”

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