PTSD: How Do I Move Into The Future?
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Exodus 20:2 ESV
A new year typically offers us opportunity for new hopes, new goals and new dreams. However, a new year may also bring new fears, anxieties and many negative emotions – particularly for those who wrestle with PTS/ PTSD. Our military and first-responders, who have seen the depravity of man up close and personal, have an intimate knowledge of how deeply wicked man can be. As a result, faith, hope and love is often replaced with fear, hopelessness and even hate.
So, what do we do? Where do we go from here? How can those of us who have seen, experienced and suffered through horrific circumstances face tomorrow? How do we heal from the exposure and the resulting trauma post-event? The deep stinging pain of yesterday…a pain that is unfortunately, for many, still lingering and taking on various forms, including depression and anger.
Often the character of God is questioned when wrestling with the darkness of despair. It is in those times that we need to be reminded of who God is. The same God who brought Israel out of slavery is the same God who is able to deliver us from the bondage of depression, despair and anger. He is the same God who is able to deliver us from hopelessness and fear.
We know this to be true in our own lives. For when we were depraved and living in our sin, God freed us from our own slavery by sending Christ to ransom us from the penalty of our sin on the cross. Christ intervened in our darkness and gave us new life…freedom and hope for the future.
Sacrifice is something members of our armed services are intimately familiar with. Sacrificing blood, sweat, and tears to train and stand ready to fight against the evils of this world. Sacrificing time with family and friends to fight for the cause of freedom. Many giving the ultimate sacrifice for the one next to them and for the ones back home who cannot fight for themselves. The greatest sacrifice is not seen on the battlefield, but at Calvary at the Cross of Christ:
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8 ESV)
At the Cross it seems as though all hope is lost, but it is also there where we find hope. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a lot more like Saving Private Ryan than some of the cute stories we may have heard in Sunday School as little kids. It’s a lot more like storming the beaches of an enemy territory and going deep behind enemy lines to save some poor undeserving soul – because that is exactly what it is.
As we go into the new year, we all need a reminder. Some of us may be in the midst of suffering and others looking into a seemingly hopeless tomorrow. But as we reflect on what has been done on our behalf on the Cross of Christ, we know we have been (or can be) brought from death to life, from darkness to light, from despair and suffering to hope and healing. We know that if God can bring our salvation out of such a seemingly hopeless moment, that God can bring good out of our suffering. Instead of letting false feelings rule our faith, we can cling to the Truth. We can sing along with John Newton – His grace has brought me safe thus far, and His grace will lead me home.