Have you ever stopped to wonder... If Jesus was here today how would He respond to those living with the after effects of trauma? With PTSD?
When you look through the hundreds of books that have been written about Jesus being the "perfect counselor," you'll see that most of them focus on His keen ability to love people for who they are and accept them for where they're at. They also focus on his character as a good listener (demonstrated by how He was always asking questions) and a compassionate person.
While all of this is true, many of us still wonder, "What would Jesus say to those who struggle with PTSD? What would He think of modern treatments and medication? Would He even call our experiences traumatic?"
Although we can’t pretend to know God's mind, we can use what we know about His character to help us see how He'd respond to the suffering faced by trauma victims. With this in mind, there are four things He might say to someone struggling with PTSD.
“I'm not uncomfortable because of your trauma. You're not too damaged for Me to relate to.”
Unfortunately, God’s people have always suffered from trauma. Look at the history behind both the Old and the New Testament and repeatedly you'll find the Israelite nation was overtaken and placed in captivity. Then we watch as Jesus is betrayed, tortured, and crucified. His apostles were imprisoned, beaten and executed. His followers were also persecuted. None of this was easy. In fact, many of them probably had PTSD too. None of this is new and Jesus knows it. This is what makes Him so well-equipped to take on trauma's burden.
“Your wounds aren't for nothing. There's purpose in your pain.”
Trauma changes a person but this doesn't have to be for the worse. While many people think of this as a catalyst to a downward spiral, it can propel you towards a positive transformation. When we let this happen in our lives, God will use what seems like huge gaping wounds for His glory. Think about these people for a moment:
- Noah lost all his friends to a flood.
- Abraham walked up a mountain, fully prepared to kill His own son.
- Joseph's own brothers betrayed him, selling him into slavery.
- Moses was abandoned as a child.
What one thing did they all have in common though? They all went on to become great leaders - leaders who were shaped by their experience.
Hear more about what my wounds have taught me
Learn what your wounds can be teaching you too....
“The scars are there to tell a story.”
You can't return to your “pre-trauma” self. While words like “restoration,” “redemption” and “healing.” are wonderful, they don't feel right to someone who's been traumatized because it simply isn't natural to be unchanged by an unnatural experience.
Look at Jesus in the upper room and you'll see that His scars are still present. While He'd conquered the grave, the scars from His trauma still remained. Why? So Thomas could come to faith.
Sure Christ could have had a new, unblemished body after defeating death but He chose to keep the scars to make His testimony complete. He lets you keep your scars so you can share your story with others... A story of how you've risen up to live with purpose and power.
“Depend on your doctors, but abide in Me.”
While others may tell you that you don't need medicine, in reality it works hand-in-hand with faith and miracles. Undoubtedly, faith plays a huge role in your healing but even Jesus advocated for the use of medicine (Mark 2:17, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.”). In fact, the apostle Luke was a doctor. Faith and medicine are not enemies. They're meant to work together.
When you need a little more than a friend....
I'm here for you!
The next time you find yourself struggling to reconcile your faith with your trauma, consider what Jesus may be saying...
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