On October 23, 2019, Truett McKeehan, better known by stage name “Tru”, died of an accidental drug overdose in a Nashville home. The son of famous Christian singer TobyMac, Tru had achieved moderate success in his music career, collaborating with his father on several songs, including the hit “Backseat Driver”, feat. Hollyn. His death shook the Christian community, moving many to grief.
But you probably already know all of this. This was an event that took place nearly 4 months ago, predating the deaths of Juice Wrld and Kobe Bryant. Why is it important?
Tru’s death was the first of two events within recent memory to make me cry. While I do not, like some men, keep myself from crying as a show of strength, I simply do not cry easily. However, the deaths of both Tru and Kobe pushed me over the edge, and I mourned deeply for both of them. My post on Kobe’s life and death, found by clicking here, showed the emotion that I found within his death. Indeed, it seemed as if a piece of me had vanished, leaving just a hole in my heart.
Tru’s death, on the other hand, was something different. While I admired Kobe as an athlete and father, Tru had a much larger influence on me through his influence, testimony, family background, and personality. His death not only grieved me, but it shook me. As I mourned, I remained acutely aware of one fact- this could be anybody, including me.
As Christians, we often believe that we are immune to the trials brought on by the darkness of today. Lecrae talks about this in his hit book “Unashamed”, where he says this:
“When I decided to follow Jesus that night in Atlanta, I assumed that becoming a Christian would make life easier. I thought the rest of my life would be smiling and smooth sailing. I assumed I wouldn’t be tempted by women and partying and acceptance and all the things that I’d been a slave to for so many years. I thought I would walk around with a continual inner peace and serenity like Gandhi or something. This turns out to be a lie that too many people believe. You’ll actually experience more temptation, not less, after you become a Christian. Following Jesus doesn’t mean you’ll start living perfectly overnight. It certainly doesn’t mean that your problems will disappear. Rather than ridding you of problems or temptations, following Jesus just means that you have a place—no, a person—to run to when they come. And the power to overcome them.”Lecrae
A profound quote, Lecrae perfectly emphasizes his point: when we become Christians, we assume that our struggles, temptations, lust, whatever it is that bothers us, will be removed. Instead, we receive just the opposite. A former alcoholic that turns to Christianity will find himself tempted back to the bottle far more then before his conversion. A sex addict will be tempted by women far more, as a Christian, then as an unbeliever.
Trials are only beginning. As Christians, we are called to fight. Men and women, rise up and be strong, firm enemies to the devil, resisting every dart and wounding him at every opportunity. Do not become lulled into a false sense of security, for this is exactly what Satan wants. He wants you to feel safe, protected, and it is in these moments that he strikes.
Men and women, rise up and be strong, firm enemies to the devil, resisting every dart and wounding him at every opportunity. Do not become lulled into a false sense of security, for this is exactly what Satan wants.Tweet
I will not say that this is what happened to Tru. Whether his death was indeed an accident or the result of a life turned away from God is not for me to decide. However, we receive our first takeaway from the way he died- do not become lulled into a false sense of security within your Christianity. “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love” (English Standard Version, 1 Corinthians. 16:13).
Our second takeaway- the influence of someone alive is far outstripped by the influence of someone dead. Confused? Me too. Essentially, as a general rule, we don’t truly appreciate people until they’re dead. Morbid, yes, but it remains true. I didn’t realize just how much influence Tru had on me until he was dead. Now, looking back on his life, I realize just how similar we are to each other. We are both the eldest in our families. We are both lovers of music. We have a brilliant father. We enjoy rapping. We love our hair. We love God.
Six important factors linking Truett McKeehan to me. Of course, he is far more famous than I, but this is where we get into influence. Now, his influence extends across continents to people who didn’t even know his name until he died. The death of someone is a powerful factor, one way or the other.
This links to our final takeaway- Tru’s background and family. Tru’s death wouldn’t have made such an impact if it weren’t for the stance of his father. In an Instagram post following his son’s funeral, TobyMac brought many to tears by saying this:
As we enter this week of Thanksgiving we have something we’d like to share….
Such overwhelming love has surrounded us this last month. We still don’t quite know which end is up but we do KNOW, we are loved. As we mourn our firstborn son, God has poured out His love on us through people. He has loved us through you….your kind acts and words and prayers and thoughts and songs and poems and teachings and gifts and meals and time and expertise and travel have made death bearable. You have been God’s light to us in our darkest days – A comfort to our broken hearts. We have experienced family at every layer and every turn. From the closest to those who have loved from a distance, thank you, thank you a thousand times over. We are grateful for your gentle and compassionate hearts. It is something we will never forget. Community as it should be….the body at it’s best. How God must be pleased!
Also- We’ve been encouraging ourselves to stand on this….the place of death is actually where all that we believe is most significant. That God has the power to do what he promised, defeat death and give life to anyone who believes. So from the valley of the shadow of death we pray a flood of thankfulness will rise this week. Thankfulness to a kind God who is not afraid. The Father of the Heavenly lights…who shines most beautifully in the darkness, and gives us everything we need.Toby and Amanda McKeehan
This statement proved the full extent of Toby’s faith. To those of you questioning whether TobyMac is a Christian or not- shame on you. What non-believer, in their right minds, would post something as heart-felt and yet true as this? Stop spending your time trying to defame others and instead focus on yourselves.
Toby’s statement remains an inspiration to us all. I pray that, in a time of grief, God will grant me the same strength to lean on Him. Tru’s influence, through his death and his parents’ faith, has brought many to faith in Christ, and that is what is most important.
If you haven’t heard TobyMac’s song “21 Years”, written in response to his son’s death, be sure to watch it below.
Alright, that’s all for today. Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed that post as much as I did writing it. If you haven’t already, be sure to click that Follow button below (or to the side), so as to not miss out on new posts like this. Thanks again, and I hope you have a fantastic day!
Image credit to SunRiseRead.com.
Moore, Lecrae. Unashamed. Self-published, 2016, accessed 20th February, 2020.