Trauma Is Not a Life Sentence

You Can Be Free

Too much “ministry” to victims of abuse amounts to little more than wand-waving over secular group therapy. The church will never be the perfect place in this age. The church may never be as informed as the trauma clinic, as trained and specialized as the therapist, as warm as the childhood friend. Or in some cases, it could be all of the above. There is no such thing as a perfect community. Not yet. Resist requiring that standard from others or, as the church, pretending to meet it.

It can feel really good in the moment to make promises that God doesn’t make, like, “Jesus will make the pain go away.” Sometimes he does in this life; sometimes he doesn’t. But it is important to know that trauma is not a life sentence. It’s not something that has to control us forever. No trauma is bigger than God. It can be arduous to authentically work through, even in the light of grace. It takes patience and boldness, produced by the Spirit. But many have genuinely recovered, and more have learned to live grace-filled and fruitful lives beyond and despite, even because of, their pain and its triggers. All our suffering is some expression of the now-and-not-yet of Christian existence.

Many of us may not feel ourselves running into glory, but limping, and others crippled and carried (Mark 2:4). Christ is the one who bought and signifies the breakability of the chains of death. We may not feel the full weight of that hope today, but we will one day.