If you look at my left arm you will see a significant scar.  Every scar has a story.  When I was a kid, I decided to race my cousin to the front door of our house.  This made the storm door the finish line.  I stuck my left arm through it and had to get nineteen stitches.  For the record, I won!  Almost all of us have some scars on our body and on our spirit as well.  Maybe you were molested as a kid, your parents divorced, or you were significantly betrayed as an adult.  Emotional scars are reminders of the trauma we have experienced in life.  I read about a spiritual director who begins each of her sessions with at least five minutes of silence for her clients.  Nearly all whom she meets with begin to cry (Prayer In The Night, Tish Harrison Warren, 40).  Trauma affects most of us; how do we deal with it?
      First, EMBRACE THE MYSTERY OF GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY.  Everything that happens in life is either caused by God or allowed by God.  To be honest I struggle with all the painful experiences that God allows but I am comforted by that fact that God is in control (Isaiah 55:8,9).   I trust the sovereignty of God even when I do not fully understand it.  Job models this trust; he lost his wealth, reputation, health and children yet he still clung to God.  In the book of Job he never really gets an explanation.  In essence, God says I’m God and you are not.  Author Lysa Terkeurst says, “Sometimes you just have to walk in your “I don’t know”  (It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way, 179).   I have observed that the painful moments of life are usually the growth moments.              
      Second, FACE THE PAIN THROUGH CONNECTION WITH GOD AND OTHERS.  Jesus warns us that in this life we will have trouble but then reminds us that He has overcome the world (John 16:33).  Too many people try to numb the pain with drugs, porn, or mindless entertainment.  Face the pain.  Talk to a friend, Pastor or counselor.   Honestly cry out to God in your pain.  Feel the pain and begin to heal.  God is the source of all healing.  He is the one “who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalms 147:3). Others matter as well; “healing from trauma almost never happens by yourself” (Triumph Over Trauma, Gregory L. Jantz, 19).  Who could you invite into your healing journey?  God designed us to do life, especially the hard parts, with others.    
      Third, STRUGGLE TO FORGIVE.  Many of our traumas are caused by others.  The Father who abandons us.  The spouse who cheats.  The business partner who steals from us.  Forgiving a person is a process but it begins with a decision.  Make the decision to forgive those who have given us our most significant scars (Colossians 3:13). 
       Fourth, PRACTICE RESILENCE.  Every major Bible character had traumatic seasons in their lives where they needed to exercise resilience.  Some of my favorite advice about perseverance in response to trauma comes from missionary Elisabeth Elliot.  This woman had her husband murdered by the tribesman he was trying to share the gospel with.  Remarkably, she stayed and worked with the very people that murdered her husband.  When people asked her how she moved forward, she simply responded, “I did the next thing.”  It could be small or big, she just took the next step.  In the midst of your trauma and pain “do the next thing.” 
      One of my favorite Bible words is Shalom, it means peace or wholeness.  Despite the trauma we experience in life, God’s shalom is for you!
Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church