Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6:10-11, ESV)
Today during our Eastern District Pastoral Conference near Pittsburgh, we heard several sessions of sharing by the LCMS chaplain Lieutenant Colonel Steven Hokana on the topic of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Of course he is trained to deal with PTSD in the military… however he reminded us that PTSD is not limited to the military. PTSD is often a factor in our lives as congregational members – and neighbors and co-workers. We regularly face traumatic situations that can and do negatively impact our well being. Whether it is the tragic death of a child or loved one, a significant material loss (such as in a disaster), we should be prepared and girded for the battle against the devil and the spiritual powers that would tear us down and keep us from the comfort and joy of the Lord. The reality is that disaster and the attacks of the devil in one form or another are bound to befall us all.
There were many learnings today, but high among them was the idea we need to be thinking in “we” instead of “I”. We are in this together – as the Lord’s body the church! An attack against one of us is an attack against all of us. If you are feeling trauma, please remember you are part of a great train of saints from the beginning of time, and with the Lord and all of His church we can know His grace and care!
We also need to remember that while PTSD is significant, it does not define who you are as God’s child! If we know that God is indeed bigger than our problems and that in our Baptism we are saved, life becomes bearable – no matter how difficult it becomes! We have the Peace that surpasses all understanding in the blood of Christ.
I am not looking forward to struggling with the great lies of Satan in PTSD – and I pray that the Lord spares me. However, I am eager to seek after the most excellent way of the Lord and always be prepared for the time when I am at my weakest and needing to trust in the Lord completely! Please join me in putting on the FULL armor of God!