There’s a popular belief among Christians that “God won’t give us more than we can handle.” That phrase is intended to encourage, but it’s not biblical, nor is it true. We can’t handle the pain of life all on our own.
That’s never truer than when discussing trauma.
Most people define trauma in extreme terms, like enduring the battlefield or a school shooting. But we can also experience trauma in everyday life, like facing a serious illness, physical injury, or abuse.
Dr. Elizabeth (Ellie) Stevens is a psychiatrist in private practice who specializes in trauma and PTSD. She’s also experienced it firsthand. When she received a fellowship to study in Colorado, she made it her goal to reach the summit of all 58 “fourteeners” (peaks exceeding 14,000 feet in elevation) in the state within a year. While descending Longs Peak, she and a friend were crossing a field of boulders when Ellie stumbled. Both of her hands were wrapped in the straps of her hiking poles, and she stumbled headfirst into a large rock.
In that instant, Ellie went from a high-achieving Air Force major into someone who could no longer control her own emotions. She struggled to find words in simple conversations. Progress was nearly impossible because she could barely tolerate car rides to the doctor.
Then, several weeks after her accident, Ellie was sexually assaulted by her boyfriend. The event compounded her physical and psychological issues.
More than a year after the accident, suffering from depression, Ellie tried to end her life by jumping from a moving car into traffic. Fortunately, her friend reached out and stopped her in time.
Scripture doesn’t gloss over painful experiences. Biblical authors freely express their hurt, frustration, and heartache. But they also affirm God’s faithfulness to His promises.
Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
Dr. Elizabeth Stevens is with us on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Finding True Healing from Trauma” to offer a better understanding of trauma and to encourage listeners to find healing through it.
She’ll explain why human methodologies for overcoming trauma are good and helpful, but they can only get us so far. Our deepest healing is found through spiritual healing that promotes emotional and relational healing.
This program isn’t graphic, but it’s probably not suitable for younger children, so please use your discretion and occupy your kids elsewhere, or listen later on your local radio station, online, on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or take us with you on our free phone app.
If you’re suffering from trauma and need someone to talk to, we have caring Christian counselors on staff, and it would be their privilege to offer you a free consultation. Call us, leave your name and number, and they’ll get back with you just as soon as possible. The number during business hours is 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).
Dr. Stevens is a retired USAF Major. She is also the founder and CEO of Advancing Warriors Internal, a faith-based discipleship and support program for veterans and first responders. Her book Unshackled: Finding God’s Freedom from Trauma is available for a gift of any amount. For more information, click here.