Surviving Trauma

Day 1 of 7 • This day’s reading

Devotional

King David was “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). He lived an extraordinary life as a shepherd, to giant (Goliath) slayer, to a great warrior and king. But with all the triumph and glory came years of sin and trauma. When David experienced symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), including depression, anger, fear, and despair he continually cried out to God. In almost every one of his Psalms, he places his hope entirely in God.

Every human will experience some form of trauma in their lifetime. We can’t compare one trauma to the next as it’s real to the individual experiencing it and we all deal with our experiences differently. Trauma ranges in severity from unexpected shocking events to those that occur in childhood. Additionally, they can be repetitive events in our relationships or work environments.

I served 6 years in the US Navy as an Aviation Rescue Swimmer. My primary function was to jump from the helicopter into the ocean to rescue those in dire need, including downed pilots. The intense training alone is conducted in very traumatic scenarios, in which we were taught to remain calm to save lives. We prepared for any situation in the open ocean or over land to rescue military or civilians in trouble. As Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), we deployed in military hot zones, supporting US special forces with insertions, extractions, and aerial fire support. Each mission brought risk, listing our elite group as one of the top most dangerous jobs in the military.

With 2 tours in the Persian Gulf during Operation Southern Watch, I flew daily mission sets fulfilling the Search and Rescue motto – So Others May Live. I lost several friends and experienced several close calls. But we were trained to ‘suck it up’ and move on with the mission, never truly dealing with the trauma we endeared. We didn’t want to be labeled as a risk to fulfill our duties, so we learned coping mechanisms to compartmentalize our feelings. Eventually, for some, that compartment opens in the form of PTSD. Usually, after our time is served.

Isaiah 41:10 lets us know through any trauma or pain we experience in life; we need not fear since God is with us. Our relationship with Him gives us assurance of His mighty power to protect us from sin and death. Through all the pain of those suffering from past trauma, He is there with an extended hand waiting for us to release that pain to Him. It takes courage to experience and survive trauma and it takes equal courage to acknowledge our pain and transfer it to God. I encourage you to take this moment to dig deep and find the strength and courage to release your pain to our everlasting Lord!

Daily Journal

For the next 7 days take time to journal. There’s power in pen and paper. Today write (don’t type) about the trauma that’s been plaguing you. Don’t worry about grammar or structure, just write to get it out. Just like King David did when he journaled his experiences in the Book of Psalms.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255