What Does God Say About PTSD?

Lucy MollFor Those Seeking Hope14 Comments

what does God say about PTSD

People who’ve faced a significant trauma sometimes develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the name given when a person struggles greatly after a very difficult situation. It has been described as a “normal reaction to an abnormal situation.” Do you or someone you know struggle with PTSD? Do you wonder, “Will I ever be normal again?”  PTSD affects many more people than combat veterans and those who endured 9/11 closeup and personal.

  • 70 percent of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives. That’s 223.4 million people.
  • Up to 20 percent of these people go on to develop PTSD. As of today, that’s 31.3 million people who did or are struggling with PTSD.
  • An estimated 8 percent of Americans – that’s 24.4 million people – have PTSD at any given time.
  • An estimated 1 out of 10 women develops PTSD; women are about twice as likely as men.
  • Among people who are victims of a severe traumatic experience 60 to 80 percent will develop PTSD.

(The above statistics come from HealMyPTSD.com.)

Two Truths

1. You are not alone.

2. There is hope.

Tragically, among the deepest crises leading to the PTSD label is sexual abuse. This trauma sickens the soul and messes with the mind, spirit, and body for years, even decades. The effects range from paralyzing fears to physiological symptoms, as well as identity struggles and damaged relationships. Many believers who experienced sexual abuse may ask, “Where was God?” and “Why didn’t he stop it?” According to the Sidran Institute, people who experienced specific traumas such as rape, child abuse, and violent assaults often feel isolated, guilty, trapped, and confused. They may suffer from many symptoms such as depression, addictions, self-abuse, and suicidal thoughts. There’s hope. Says biblical counselor and author David Powlison:

Your recovery will be a process of learning and remembering those two truths — you are not alone and there is hope — not just once, but over and over. Think about how bread gets made. It must be kneaded so that the yeast goes through the whole loaf. These two truths must be kneaded into who you are until they work through every part of you. The working of these truths into the deepest part of you takes time. The damage you suffered may have been done in one or more terrible moments; the healing and the restoration unfolds at a human pace. It unfolds at your pace. It unfolds as part of your story, and it unfolds over time.”

Lindy’s Story

Lindy Abbott, a Christian blogger, wife, and mother suffered abuse as a young child so severe that she developed PTSD. She told me she unknowingly used a coping skill called dissociation to survive ongoing trauma. It protects her from awareness of the pain in the short run, but a person who dissociates often may find in the long run she has relationship difficulties and inability to function. As Lindy writes at her blog Abuse and Trauma Hope,

It is at this precise moment [of abuse] that the child unconsciously begins to protect the soul from utter destruction by separating the harmful/abusive experiences into hidden places in the soul. The mind does this without needing the child to actively think about what she needs to do to survive, it as an unconscious act of self-preservation.”

Lindy says this about her abuse:

My life began in trauma and abuse as a child, affecting who I am, how I see, and how I feel. The abuse was hell but God has used it for good. Truly, God has used what was meant for evil to be good in my life and to conform me to Christ Jesus. I see things deeply. I feel deeply too. Sometimes really good, sometimes really bad. While I love to laugh and be silly, I am burdened by the seriousness of eternity.

Help for All 

Awful memories may haunt someone with PTSD. Condemning words like “You are dirty and ugly” may invade her thoughts. What happened was horrible but the truth is, she is not dirty or ugly. You can apply the truth to your horrible situation. “Because of her faith in Christ she can apply the truth that she is clothed in the righteousness of Christ and she is precious and loved. She can apply the truth of who she is in Christ to the truth of her past experiences,” says biblical counselor Eliza Jane Huie with Life Counseling Center. Each of us needs to remember who we are in Christ and apply this truth to past experience, even trauma. Expect to apply the truth over and over and over again. “Having a painful past that still hurts is an opportunity to build a deeper confidence in the truth of God’s Word and what it says about you,” Huie says. “This is not an exercise in positive thinking. It is telling gospel truth to yourself. As you speak gospel truth to horrible situations you’ve faced, let it make you desperate for God and for the love he has for you.

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 1 John 3:18-19, 23, ESV

Resources for YOU!

Whether you or a loved one another trauma, know that God heals in his timing, and his timing is always right. Do you want to talk with someone confidentially about your pain? Please contact us. We have male and female certified biblical counselors at our various Chicago offices who counsel in person and by Skype. You may self-schedule an in-person appointment. If you’d like a Skype appointment, please get in touch because we have many more Skype hours available.

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14 Comments on “What Does God Say About PTSD?”

  1. Is there really help?I had been. seen by so many.because of the police.Police brutally in 1990. To this day I am still suffering from pstd medication does not help.and the side effects were awful.I had to learned how to live.not a very help one even being a christian.Also around this time my father molested me .This has caused serious problem for my marriage It is all my fault.

    1. Yes, Linda, there is help and hope. You describe deep suffering. This is sin committed against you. It hurts. We’ve counseled many who also have been sinned against. The Lord has answers that provide healing. Please contact us and you can talk to one of our trained biblical Counselors in person or by Skype.

      May you stay hopeful as our great God comforts you.

  2. Please help me. I’m in deepdespair of anxiety and depression. Seems God forsaken me. I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD but don’t know how true that is,all o know is I wish God would come get me today

    1. You are so welcome, Wanda. You and Shelly Beach wrote an entire devotion to help PTSD sufferers, didn’t you? Blessings, Lucy

  3. I lost a child and shortly after joined a church. The church was very legalistic and fearful. Then I started developing PTSD. It’s hard when you want God, but are triggered by things in church. Lord help me!

    1. Hi Andrew, may we encourage you to reach out to a biblical counselor in your area or to one here are Biblical Counseling Center? We have counselors who meet by Skype/Facetime. Simply contact us.

  4. I have had PTSD for many years due to years of sexual abuse and also several traumatic assaults. The first hurdle was understanding that they weren’t my fault. The biggest help is knowing that I’m fully loved by God. The ongoing challenge is the feeling of fighting with my own brain. PTSD isn’t about consciously thinking about memories. It’s about the brain involuntarily bringing up responses to perceived threats. My brain continues to react to men in various circumstances, when I have no conscious sense of feeling uncomfortable. I’m now working on more imbedding of scripture, hoping to help heal the brain at the unconscious level. Is there any research on this ?

    1. Thanks for sharing! There is lots of research on post traumatic stress and its effect on brain structure. Google it and see what you find. Another excellent resource is Brad Hambrick’s seminar series on PTS. Here’s the link: http://bradhambrick.com/ptsd/

      Let us know how it goes. –LAM

  5. Hi, my name is Nancy. My son has PTSD. He was in the Navy and was on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. After a few very difficult years where we didn’t know what was happening, the family finally convinced him to seek help from the VA. Which he did for a while. He is not doing well in my opinion and thinks that he can either cope on his own or that no one else can help. What can I do? I pray fervently every day and God has told me to trust Him, but it’s still very difficult.

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