Out On A Limb
I am going out on a limb regarding a topic I don’t know much about: Trauma.
In the last 2 weeks, I have met three men who are wrestling with significant pain from the past. Pain caused by no fault of their own, rather as the result of someone else’s sin upon them.
One of them shared gruesome details of his tour in the middle east that has led to severe PTSD. The second has trauma related to physical abuse suffered at the hands of his mother. The third, sexual abuse as a child.
This is gut-wrenching stuff that I have never personally suffered. My blood boils with anger as rethink these stories. It leaves me feeling useless. It causes me to question God. It makes me wonder how these three men can break free of this pain and live full, joyful lives in the future.
I know the theologically correct response to their situations:
1. Evil is alive and well. For whatever reason, God has, for now at least, allowed sin to exist on this planet.
2. God is working a larger sovereign plan that we can’t always see.
3. When something bad happens to us, it doesn’t mean that we are bad or worthless or deserving of what happened to us.
4. God loves us unconditionally and totally. He wants us healed physically and emotionally now. He wants our soul and spirit with Him in eternity.
5. God can redeem all things --- even evil things. For instance, if God – through His spirit and the science of psychology -- can heal these men, perhaps they can take action to prevent the next victim or be a healer to the next victim.
The problem with all this theologically correct stuff is that it is easier said than truly experienced. Working through forgiveness, regret, fear, shame, and anger is no easy task. In fact, I would guess that, humanly speaking, it would be impossible. The Spirit of God has to intervene, I would think.
Perhaps the healing is never complete any way. Maybe it’s a burden these men will always bear, but it’s debilitating effects will be offset because God can transform their hearts and minds into vessels of love and compassion. Maybe there will be day when they care less about their pain because they are so concerned about the pain of others.
Frankly, I don’t know. Most of what I write is born out of personal experience, years of coaching, and scriptural truth, but today I have no simple answers. No formulas. No recommendations.
Just compassion. And a great conviction to pray for these men. Would you please join me?