It seems that people who have lived through one trauma, have inevitably lived through many traumas of various stripes.
When I hear the stories of other survivors, or the bits they are willing to share with me, I often think to myself that I have survived nothing compared to others. I frequently walk away from such conversations thinking, ‘how could someone be piled on THAT much by the enemy and still survive it?’ or ‘wow, I had it easy compared to their traumas.’
Therapists have repeatedly told me not to ‘go there’ (playing the comparison games of who had worse abuse, etc.) as such things are impossible to quantify. Plus, it can keep me from realizing the depth of the pain and damage, which I need to own in order to heal, regarding my own traumas. Nevertheless, in hearing such stories from others, there is a hard truth that I keep noticing:
The devil really attacks you after you are down.
We like to pretend that there are rules of warfare that might apply. That there might still be standards and certain things that wouldn’t be done; even by the prowling lion who seeks to devour us (1 Peter 5:8).
I once naively believed that someone who just survived a fatal accident wouldn’t be deceived by their own insurance adjuster, for instance.
Now I know, from first hand experience, that the term ‘ambulance chasers’ includes more than personal injury lawyers.
In the wild predators go after those animals who are already limping or injured. It is the same with attacks of evil.
Furthermore, if such things were not the reality of this world, Jesus would not have included this plea at the end of the Lords’ prayer: deliver us from evil.
And so I have started to accept that some things which happened to me will always hurt; this side of heaven. There has not been reconciliation. But I do believe I have forgiven it.
It’s, in many ways, miraculous I’m still alive. Given that, I’m taking a look at what I may have gained from these scars on my soul and body. Realizing that I have not battled flesh and blood; but powers and principalities.
Recently, part of my Bible reading plan was Proverbs 4. The NIV version translates the heading of Proverbs 4 as
‘Get Wisdom At Any Cost.’
After I’d read the required reading, I found myself going back to Proverbs 4:7. The NIV translations lists it as follows:
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
This reminded me of an old adage about writing. ‘If you want to be a writer, the first thing you need to do is to sit down and write.’
Likewise, if we want wisdom: get it. Look for it. Ask for it. Hang around with those who seem to have it and hope some falls on you too.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
This is where the rubber meets the road. The trials (and attacks) in my life which have bestowed the most understanding of myself, of others, of God, were, inevitably, quite costly.
I’m scarred. And still walking through the costliness of PTSD knocking me out mid-life.
My past isn’t going to be reversed at this point, so I may as well mine for gold as I examine what happened to me, and try to find all the wisdom therein which I can gather.
Since wisdom is more precious than gold. And since so much has already been taken from me, which cannot be returned. If I am left with some wisdom and understanding in exchange then it is not a total loss.
I can even find things to be thankful for; in that.