This article discusses topics in the nature of physical and emotional abuse and may trigger those sensitive to these conversations. If you are feeling as though you need immediate help, please do not hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or dial 911.
Trauma is experienced at some level by every person on this earth. It is the shared human experience, and one we so wish to be spared of. Our trauma might be old or new, giant or not as giant as others. Regardless, trauma and what it does to us a individuals; the ways it shapes our thoughts and decisions; and how we perceive the world, is something that we can each understand. Unfortunately, it is still seen as though it is something we must hide. Does it make us weak to be wounded? Some might say so; but that simply is not true. Last week I shared part of my own story and discussed why it was important to understand the need for openness in the discussion of trauma and how our traumatic experiences do not only NOT make us weak or with little faith, but make us strong and powerful. Today I want to discuss what the Bible says about our trauma and how God seeks to heal us from it.
In John 10:10 Jesus says, "The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life." (NLT) God never intends for us to have anything less than a good and satisfying life. Even from the beginning, everything in God's creation, including man, was good. Today, that is still His intention; however, as Romans 5:12 says, "...Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned" (ESV). The world has fallen. Our human disobedience has made it so and because of that, sin, hurt, and, yes, trauma are part of our identities.
"Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron." – Psalm 107:13-16 (ESV)
"I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears." – Psalm 34:4 (ESV)
"Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks; foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers; ..." – Isaiah 61:1-8 (ESV)
These are just a few of the verses that highlight two very important truths. One, that trauma is real and we are supposed to recognize it and not merely try to hide it from the world as if it were a scarlet letter and mark of shame. Two, that God hears us when we are hurting and that He never blames us for such hurt. He is a comforter, a deliverer, someone that so seeks to give us strength and to wipe away the pain that we can so often feel. But, will He ever? The Bible has an answer for that too.
"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:4 (ESV)
"The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever." – Psalm 23:1-6 (NLT)
"Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life." – John 14:6 (ESV)
"I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture." – John 10:9 (ESV)
"Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life." – Isaiah 43:4 (NIV)
"Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours." – Isaiah 61:7 (NLT)
God wants to restore our souls, He wants to give us a double portion for our former troubles. I want to tell you that that happens immediately, that you won't have to live with the pain that other people and events have brought on to you; but I can't tell you that. God can, through His Word and Truth, help to ease the trauma of your past and each day, with His help, he can make it easier for you to live with, just as He has made so much of my own trauma easier to bear. Full recovery might not come until we are perfect and in eternity with Him; but even so, we can hold tightly to the confident hope that it WILL come. We can also have the confident hope that because we are still here, He still has a perfect and wonderful purpose for us. Our trauma tells us we should give up. God reminds us that it does not have to be the end of our story. If we allow God to take us to our intended, good purpose, we will see that we are so much more than the pain, anxiety, and fear. We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)! God knows our hearts and our hurts and He wants to bring us to all the amazing things He has planned for us long ago and wants to restore what has been lost. What he asks of us is to open our hearts to Him and allow him in to do so.