Leaning to Trust Again

One of the most important things we can learn in this life is to trust God.  That is also the hardest thing for a person with PTSD to do.  Trust is almost permanently impaired by experiencing trauma.  Trust in God is often the first casualty.  Why didn’t He protect me?  Where was He when I needed Him? Why can’t He wipe away this horrible disorder?

From my own experience, I can explain things the way I see it.  God has given man his freedom to choose.  That has given us the ability to make of our lives what we will.  To choose good or to choose evil.  God will not enforce His will on us or on other people.  Our right to choose determines the course of our lives, the development of our characters.  The character we have when we die, is thus the character that we have “earned” through our actions and will determine what our station will be in the afterlife.

For this reason, God will not intervene with this sacred gift he has given, even if we choose to do evil.  He may send us warnings.  Probably not as extreme as the one He sent to Saul of Tarsus.  But the upshot of this condition of free will is that people hurt people.  Natural disasters are part of mortal life as well.

However, what we choose to do with our lot, our traumas in life, is what determines our character.  Most of us try to exert absolute control over our lives after something horrible has happened.  The fact that we can’t, makes us withdraw more and more into a state of panic, and drives some to suicide.

When I was at this point, I finally realized that there is no way I can control things that happen or the people in my life.  I have control over only one person, and that is me.  I can use my free will to make good choices or bad ones.  When my life was whittled down to nothing but panic attacks, I finally realized this truth.  I also realized that I was not trusting the Lord, because I was afraid of what He would try me with if I, Abraham-like, put my most precious things on the altar and gave them into his care.  I was deathly afraid, that if I submitted to His will, He would take my husband, my children, everything that was dear to me.  I couldn’t trust Him.

However, I heard a paraplegic give a talk.  For 20 years he had been completely paralyzed except for his neck and head.  His head was held in place by a device that relied on a velcro strip.  This man, Jack Rushton, had put his life completely in the hands of the Lord, because in the most literal sense, he had no control.  He devised the idea for a machine that would hold a book in front of him and automatically turn the pages for him.  Jack Rushton became a student of the scriptures, and a particular intimate of Paul, the apostle.  He had learned first hand that, like Paul, he could rely completely on the Lord for his comfort, his succor, his life.  His motto was “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13).  What a motto for a man in his condition!  Yet, he believed it, and he went forth every day pro-actively pursuing opportunities to be an example of this powerful scripture.  And hearing him, I was convinced that if I conformed myself to God’s will instead of my own, if I put all my fears on the altar, that I, too, could have this blessing.  Earlier in the same epistle, Paul bore testimony of another truth, which I endeavored to believe and take into my life.  ” . . .in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).  What promises!  Paul had testified of these things while in a prison which was a giant hole.  The only light came from the sky which was leagues away.  Yet, he was so supported in this place by his faith in Christ, that he was able to pen these words which he knew to be true because of his experience.

Because of my experience, I can also bear witness that they are true.  At the bottom of my virtual hole of a prison, I knelt and placed myself and my loved ones in God’s care.  It took a tremendous amount of will.  But it was the only place left to go.  And, as I have stated elsewhere, the Lord, within a week, wrought my deliverance.  Panic, doubt, depression, anxiety, illness all fled.  I have been challenged since then, but because of that experience, my faith grew, and I knew my first resource was the Lord.  As He continued to guide me and watch over me and my loved ones, that faith and trust grew.  And I came to know the Lord in my extremities.  What greater thing could I achieve in this life?  What greater gift could He give me?

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