Does trauma have a purpose, or is it just something that God allows to happen?
Does trauma have a purpose? Like anything else the answer to this question rests in our view of God.
Any kind of trauma can change the trajectory of our lives. At one moment, life may be going just the way we hoped and planned, and in another moment, everything changes, and we are going a completely different direction, a journey into the unknown.
A recent LifeSupport podcast discussed the topic of trauma and how it all fits in God’s plan for our lives. Is trauma something that God just let’s happen? Or is there a bigger picture that He sees as it relates to trauma?
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Garth had big plans for his life.
He married his wife, Christy, and soon after he had the opportunity to become a graduate assistant football coach at the University of Tennessee. This was a dream-come-true for any football coach. Tennessee was one of the biggest and most successful college football programs at the time.
Garth played football at a small college and even had some coaching experience before the chance arose.
Once he was in Tennessee, Garth was introduced to the other coaches. During lunch, it was typical for all the guys to play some pick-up games of basketball. One day, Garth was playing and the person guarding him took his legs out from underneath him and Garth landed on his head and was knocked unconscious.
At the time of the accident, Garth was not sure how serious it actually was, but it would change his life forever.
Doctors told him that he had a brain injury and Garth and his wife were forced to start re-thinking their future. It became clear that Garth could not continue in the coaching profession and he ultimately left to pursue a different career.
He became an insurance salesman, but his injury still affected his ability to perform. It took years of tests and hospital visits before he started to realize that this injury was going to affect him for the rest of his life. That realization hit home hard and for the first time in his life.
Garth was raised in a Christian home and he grew up in the church. He asked Jesus to come into his life when he was very young.
Now, he was crying out to God all of his questions, frustrations and thoughts.
During the LifeSupport podcast, Garth explained what he learned about intercessory prayer, the necessity of crying out to God and how trauma can strengthen one’s relationship with Christ and others.
What are effective ways to support someone experiencing trauma?
In the Podcast, Garth shared some of his personal experiences in what helped him while grappling with his physical ailment:
- The Ministry of Presence is powerful – Garth says that it is common for many believers to come to someone in trauma with a word. Although they might have good intentions, this can do more damage than good. Just being present with someone is always a powerful, yet quiet, way of showing your support and love for someone.
- Interceding in prayer – Garth described his experience as ‘brain fog.’ He didn’t even know what to pray for or how to pray in his circumstance. He asked others to intercede for him in prayer. These prayer warriors came through and Garth can now attest that these prayers helped him and still help him today.
- Do not expect a survivor to ever be the same – Trauma changes people. These changes can be small to life changing. Garth says his injury changed him, not only physically, but allowed him to see people and the world around him differently. Trauma always seems bad initially, but Garth believes God can turn anything into good in a powerful way.
God has a plan and is always faithful
Garth shared that his trauma eventually broke him in many ways. Though there were times of doubt and questioning, he knows God has always been faithful to him through it all and used the bad for good in his life.
God has given Garth a gift to see brokenness in others.
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