Saturday, February 17, 2018

PTSD, Yes there is a God to heal that.

Do we notice the goodness in the midst of evil? 
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 17, 2018

There is joke that pops up when someone is talking about some type of physical abnormality and someone says "They have a pill for that!" But what about when the wound cannot be healed by medicine alone? 

After all, when something in or on our body becomes wounded or sick, we know that healing is the only thing we can seek. We know our body will never be the same, but bones can heal. Skin can regrow to the point where if we're lucky, without leaving a scar. Hair can grow back...well most of the time. Organs, that have to be taken out, don't grow back but some of them can get replaced because someone else decided to be an organ donor.

Did you know that your spiritual wound can also heal? There is a God for that and He has proven His love since He sent us here. 

It has been a long battle that we seem to be losing, all too  often. We read about servicemembers, veterans, police officers, firefighters and others who have put the lives of others ahead of their own. Simply amazing what they are willing to subject themselves to, but sadly, they suffer beyond what simple humans are designed to overcome alone.

Among civilians, we know that there are over 7 million with PTSD, just for ordinary life getting messed up by events we had no control over. It can be just one event for us, but for them, it is over and over again. They still get up everyday, willing to face it all over again. Some say that courage is in their DNA. I think it is in their souls, and that is where PTSD attacks.

The truth is, we do control what comes next. What happens to us depends on what we do or what we are willing to settle for.

If you think that you deserve to suffer, then you'll settle for that. If you believe there is a reason you survived, then you'll fight to make the best of your extra time. 

You may wonder why you had to be where you were, when you were there. You may try to figure out why someone did not survive or was hurt a lot worse than you were. You can ask "why" a million times, but never know for sure. Don't try to make sense out of anything you will never be able to know.

What most ask after something horrific happens, is "Where was God?"

There are times when I also wonder the same thing. But then after the horrible news, comes images and reports of others showing courage and compassion and I know that God was there. For that kind of love to live through the worst that can happen fed by evil, the love must be fed by God or it would not outnumber the evil acts.

I wrote this a long time ago and I hope it helps make sense out of something that may give you some comfort.

Repost from 2012
Looking for God in the wrong places
by Chaplain Kathie
Wounded Times Blog
September 12, 2012

Last night I was watching The Four Crosses at Ground Zero.

"As rescue and recovery began, fireman, police, and rescue workers would be forced to endure the nightmare of working and living inside Ground Zero. Minutes turned into hours, hours turned into hopelessness as the reality of what had happened sunk in. While working in Building 6 in the World Trade Center complex, workers discovered a cavernous type hole in the debris."


As I listened to some of the people there, while I thought it was a beautiful story, I kept thinking of what was missing from the program.

It is easy to wonder where God was on that horrible day as other people decided such evil acts were justified when they used everything in their power to kill. Where was He? Why didn't He stop it? How could a loving God allow it to happen?


We ask those questions all the time. We suffer in our lives, then try to figure out why God thought we deserved it. What did we do to make Him turn away from us?


If we search for Him in the dirt and debris we are looking for Him in the wrong place.


God was on those planes that hit the Twin Towers and the Pentagon as much as he was on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. He was not the pilot but He was the comforter. When one hand reached out to comfort someone else, He was right there. Whenever people push past thoughts for themselves to think of someone else, He is there...



Many wonder why He didn't just cause the hijackers to suffer a heart attack an spare so many innocent lives. Others wonder why He just didn't stop them from doing it. The truth is in the Bible that God does not interfere with freewill so He would not have just snatched the hijackers out of their seats. Still how do we know He didn't try to get them to change their hearts?



It is natural for us to ask what caused other humans to do such horrible things but we miss the other question about what causes so many to do compassionate things afterwards.

What caused the police and firefighters to rush into the buildings after pure evil struck them? What caused them to climb the stairs over and over again trying to save as many lives as possible after others tried to kill as many as possible?



While the evil that man does is apparent, the good they do is inherent. It was not just public employees risking their lives that day, there were average citizens in the Towers thinking of others instead of their own lives. Some of them could have survived had they used the time they had to think of their own lives, but they had the lives of others in their thoughts and actions. It was God driving them to do for others and they had the freewill choice to allow His voice to guide them or not.

But then there were smaller miracles. Survivors reached out to help others. Strangers took the hands of other strangers, put their arms around people they would have normally just walked past under normal circumstances. Then people rushed to the area to give whatever help they could.


Days passed while more and more people showed up to help find survivors and recover bodies. God was still there hearing the prayers of the nation and comforting the weary as they refused to leave.


Families of the missing were comforted by others while the time of hope faded into thinking of funerals for when the remains were found.


Every street across the country became decorated with flags and so did our cars. We were all thinking of others glued to our TV sets and reminded to be kinder to other people.


Even members of Congress joined together on the steps side by side. And we know it took a miracle to do that.


Whenever we look for God in what has been lost, we miss where He was all along.

*******
For me, I wonder more and more what it will take for all of those who would sacrifice their own lives saving others, to begin to value their own lives and save themselves.

And this is why.

To lay down his life for the sake of his friends 
September 26, 2007 

Do you think God abandoned you still? Come on and admit that while you were in the center of the trauma, you either felt the hand of God on your shoulder, or more often, never felt further from Him. In natural disasters, we pray to God to protect us. Yet when it's over we wonder why He didn't make the hurricane hit someplace else or why the tornadoes came and destroyed what we had while leaving the neighbors house untouched. We wonder why He heals some people while the people we love suffer. It is human nature to wonder, search for answers and try to understand.

In times of combat, it is very hard to feel anything Godly. Humans are trying to kill other humans and the horrors of wars become an evil act. The absence of God becomes overwhelming. We wonder how a loving God who blessed us with Jesus, would allow the carnage of war. We wonder how He could possibly forgive us for being a part of it. For soldiers, this is often the hardest personal crisis they face.


They are raised to love God and to be told how much God loves them. For Christians, they are reminded of the gift of Jesus, yet in moments of crisis they forget most of what Jesus went through.


Here are a few lessons and you don't even have to go to church to hear them.





( Matthew 8:5-13)
As he entered Caper'na-um, a centurion came forward to him, beseeching him and saying, "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress." And he said to him, "I will come and heal him." But the centurion answered him, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes, and to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, "Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth." And to the centurion Jesus said, "Go; be it done for you as you have believed." And the servant was healed at that very moment.

This sounds like a great act Jesus did. You think about the Roman Centurion, powerful, commanding, able to lead men into combat, perhaps Jesus even knew of the other men this Centurion has killed. Yet this same man, capable of killing, was also capable of great compassion for what some regarded as a piece of property, his slave. He showed he didn't trust the pagan gods the Romans prayed to but was willing to trust Jesus.

Yet when you look deeper into this act, it proves that Jesus has compassion for the warriors. The life and death of Jesus were not surprises to Him. He knew from the very beginning how it would end. This is apparent throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament. He knew He would be betrayed, beaten, mocked, humiliated and nailed to the cross by the hands of Romans. Yet even knowing this would come, He had compassion for this Roman soldier. The Romans had tortured and killed the Jews since the beginning of their empire as well as other conquered people. The Roman soldiers believed in what they were doing, yet even with that, there was still documentation of them suffering for what they did.

Ancient historians documented the illness striking the Greeks, which is what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There is evidence this illness hit every generation of warriors. Jesus would be aware that saving the Centurion's slave, because of the faith and trust He placed in Jesus, would be reported from soldier to soldier. Jesus showed compassion even to the Romans.

How can we think that He would not show compassion to today's soldiers? How can we think that He would look any differently on them than He did toward the soldiers who would nail Him to the Cross?

God didn't send you into combat. Another human did. God however created who you are inside. The ability to be willing to lay down your life for the sake of others was in you the day you were born. While God allows freewill, for good and for evil, He also has a place in His heart for all of His children. We humans however let go of His hand at the time we need to hold onto it the most.

When tragedy and trauma strike, we wonder where God was that He allowed it to happen. Then we blame ourselves. We do the "if" and " but" over and over again in our own minds thinking it was our fault and the trauma was a judgment from God. Yet we do not consider that God could very well be the reason we survived it all.

PTSD is a double edge cut to the person. The trauma strikes the emotions and the sense that God has abandoned us strikes at the soul. There is no greater sense of loss than to feel as if God has left you alone especially after surviving trauma and war. If you read the passage of Jesus and the Roman, you know that this would be impossible for God to do to you. Search your soul and you will find Him still there.


For the last story on this we have none other than the Arch Angel Michael. The warrior angel. If God did not value the warrior for the sake of good, then why would He create a warrior angel and make him as mighty as he was?


Michael has a sword in one hand and a scale in the other. God places things in balance for the warriors.


And in John 15:
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.


When it comes to waging war, issuing orders, God will judge the hearts and minds of those who sent you and He will also know your's. If you feel you need to be forgiven, then ask for it and you will be forgiven. Yet if you know in your heart the basis of your service was that of the willingness to lay down your life for your friends, then ask to be healed. Know this. That if Jesus had the compassion for a Roman how could He have any less compassion for you?


Because the military is in enough trouble already trying to evangelize soldiers for a certain branch of Christianity, understand this is not part of that. It's one of the benefits of having I don't care what faith you have or which place of worship you attended. If you were a religious person at any level before combat, your soul is in need of healing as well. There is a tremendous gift when the psychological healing is combined with the spiritual healing. If you have a religious leader you can talk to, please seek them out.



Kathie Costos