PTSD may be viewed as a faith deficit disorder.
Faith is the antidote of fear. Hope is the antidote of depression. "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1 (NIV). Faith is not belief alone, but is the tangible foundation of belief. Faith is a gift of God; however, exercise of faith is our responsibility!
Building up of our spiritual life, through the exercise of our faith is the global remedy for PTSD. Spiritual formation complements and amplifies the secular/medical/psychological treatments, which are designed to target specific symptoms such as insomnia, depression and irritability. Spiritual formation comes through the following of the faith disciplines of prayer, reading of Scripture and corporate involvement in a faith community, the church.
1. Reading of the Scriptures as they relate both generally and specifically to the symptoms.
2. Prayer: Petitions are our requests and needs brought before God. There are five petitions which are always appropriate to bring before our God by requesting:
a) Forgiveness b) Protection c) Strength d) Direction e) Purpose
However, it is praise of God which brings His presence and power into our lives. This includes the power of His healing.
3. Community of faith: Worship in a family of believers or church home.
The patient with PTSD may have medication prescribed which serves to alleviate some of the psychological and physical symptoms, rendering them more tolerable. The primary spiritual battle is necessarily addressed with spiritual methods! Psychologically, it is of benefit to employ Scripture to interrupt thoughts or feelings of fear and depression and some of these may be found in 2 Timothy 1:7, Psalms 23 & 27 (fear) and Psalms 13:22 (depression).
Once the primary problem is successfully addressed spiritually, acute symptoms diminish. Medication may become less necessary. The problem is that any hint of a God-centered approach or spiritual healing in VA or military clinical records may be met with disfavor by clinicians embracing standard (non-Biblical) medical therapies. But, troops, "drive on" to take care of yourself.
A good first step program of combined prayer, scripture and going to church (faith community) is basic, culturally acceptable and powerful. Great progress can be made through these measures alone. God honors and blesses those who diligently seek Him.
It is not the flashy interpersonal techniques, but simply the presence of God which delivers. As you make room for Him in your heart, and invite Him to become the Lord of your life, He will come and "clean house". He will evict the enemy, renew your mind and transform your heart. As the Spirit of God grows within you, you will grow to experience spiritual fruit. This starts with love, joy and peace within; patience, kindness and goodness directed toward others; and meekness (strength under authority), temperance and faith in your relationship with the living God!
The simple three step program is a cost effective, socio-biblio therapy in which God becomes the LORD who heals you and brings you into His Shalom, His peace and rest!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30(NIV)
When we seek God diligently by reading, speaking and meditating on His word, Scripture; through prayer, including praise; and by regular fellowship with His people; then we are to experience His rest, His peace, His Shalom!
My dear fellow warriors, the choice is yours. How far do you desire to advance up the hill occupied by the enemy in foxholes and in bunkers with machine guns with interlocking fields of fire? In today’s warfare how far down the road will you take your convoy? How far into the wilds of the mountains of Afghanistan will you patrol? Of course, if you want the enemy to be defeated, with all their weapons on the ground, and being sent to the POW camp, you will want to destroy them and get all the way to the top of the hill to occupy the high ground and deep into the heart of the territory of the terrorists and insurgents. This will require a disciplined but sure method for the formation of your spiritual life.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. - Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)
(12/09) If you want a deeper spiritual understanding of PTSD, contact Allen Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org for PTSD 102. Allen’s lay ministry web site is www.combatfaith.com.