Today you can hear a lot of talk on social media and in the news about veterans coming home from combat with symptoms associated with PTS. Many who experience PTS feel alone in their battle with this. “Help” for these men and women is offered in a variety of forms and through a variety of channels. In my experience through Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs (MOWP), it can be encouraging for veterans to find out that PTS has been around for a long time. Even in our country’s (relatively) short history, it has been around since the Revolutionary War and has had a number of different names.
As I have had the opportunity to encourage veterans, however, what I have found to be extremely helpful is not to focus on the way the world looks at PTS (as if veterans are broken) but to look at the way God looks at us. I point veterans to Psalm 6:
- 2 “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
- 3 My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O Lord—how long?
- 4 Turn, O Lord, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
- 5 For in death there is no remembrance of you;
Sheol who will give you praise?
- 6 I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
- 7 My eye wastes away because of grief;
grows weak because of all my foes.”
This is King David who was himself a “combat veteran.” We see him here expressing some of the very symptoms that current-day combat veterans (or many who have PTS) face. So not only has PTS has been around a long time, but we can know that since God created our brains to react the way it does to trauma, He will also provide a way forward through it.
A key step to finding hope, is to point to 1Corinthians 10:13:
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
The significance to this is that all that we face, even the effects of PTS have been experienced by others throughout time. Even David as we just saw. And the promise that we find here, is that when we are facing the effects of PTS, the hopelessness, fear, and anxiety, we know that a loving God will give us a way of escape. This way of escape is not necessarily deliverance from our circumstances (we can’t un-experience our past) but instead stepping on a new path through our circumstances.
I then return to Psalm 6 and show how David concluded:
- 8 “Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
- 9 The Lord has heard my plea;
the Lord accepts my prayer.”
He finds his hope in a loving and caring God. That is where we can all find hope; through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
John D. Foldberg
USMC Infantry Lt. Colonel (Retired)/Iraq Veteran
Bronze Star with “V” for Combat Valor
Mighty Oaks Warrior Program Instructor