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When the World Closes in...

I recently spoke at a debriefing with 20 Potter County Sheriff’s Deputies in attendance. There had been a loss within the ranks that affected a number of them, both professionally and personally. I have a background in Law Enforcement which gives me a heart for the First Responders who protect & serve us all.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has become a familiar diagnosis for those who have been traumatized or overwhelmed by life circumstances. But you don’t have to be in Law Enforcement to experience events that overload your resources or emotions. We are bombarded with “news” of the day from a variety of sources as never before. Everyone wants to tell us how to react or process the events we are exposed to in an ongoing cycle of information. So, where does our help come from? Where do we turn with the PTSD from life & loss? Recent events in our own church family can leave questions that seem difficult to answer.

As I prayed about what the Lord would have me say to the deputies and to you, He showed me a novel way to repurpose the worldly wording for PTSD. I want to share with you what God put on my heart for those who see the harsh effects of sin in a world that is running from God.

So if you will permit me to change the words behind “PTSD” to a more Biblical view, I believe we can approach the trauma we all see every day and turn it into hope.

P – Pray. Colossians 4:2 says, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;” Too often, we say too much to those who are hurting. We need to stop trying to fix each other; come alongside those who suffer & just “Be there” and pray. We need to enter into the hurt, sit there with our friends, and stop trying to make it better.

T – Trust. John 14:1 – “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” This is Jesus speaking these words. He is about to be crucified, and His disciples are about to go through life-changing times. I like that He tells them to TRUST Him. Our trust in Jesus is a chance to allow the light we follow to shine through us.

S – Share (Hope). Romans 15:13 – “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” As we come alongside those who are hurting, we must know where our hope comes from. We follow the God of Hope, who brings peace to storms. Share Him.

D – Depend on Jesus. Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” We are not the well or reservoir of anything in this life. We can’t share with a hurting world that which we don’t possess! Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

For a number of years in my life, I did not live as though that verse were true for me. I used my strength and my ways to accomplish the things and desires of my heart. And you know where I ended up? Yep, with PTSD. A lot of trauma, stress, and disorder.

It wasn’t until I found Jesus and His ways that the storms of my own life were stilled. It didn’t happen overnight, and the more the world tried to treat my PTSD, the worse it got. In fact, in some ways, their cures were worse than the diagnosis.

The person and ways of Jesus led me to see even the trials and tragedies of my life as a way to help others walk through theirs. I have not arrived by any means…but I do now know a better way to treat PTSD.

I am always glad to talk with you if you need encouragement or help in dealing with the tough things in life. Feel free to reply below or contact the church at 806-353-1488. Let’s come alongside one another and remind each other that JESUS is the answer for every thing and circumstance.

Pastor Doug S. Gehm

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