The Discipline of Trauma

When I reflect back on so many traumatic events in my life, I recall the pain and hurt. In the middle of those events, sometimes I wondered what God was doing. Yet when I look at my life today, I know those events helped to shape who I am. My faith is deeper for having endured those trials. I am more empathetic toward others who are suffering through tough times.

It makes me consider Hebrews 12:11: “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Could our struggles, our endurance of trauma in our life, be part of a discipline to deepen our faith? There is no doubt in my mind that the trauma I endured tested my faith. It caused me to turn to God in a deep way, some days pleading for Him to take the pain away. It certainly was not joyful and it was very sorrowful.

As hard as those times were, I can look back and see the fruit it has born in my life and the lives of others. The empathy I can show others struggling with the same trauma is validating for them. I have been blessed to see how God used the struggles for His purposes. Yet I also know that in this lifetime I may not ever see some fruit the trauma has born.

© 2021, CGThelen

Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. – Hebrews 12:12-13 (NASB)

19 thoughts on “The Discipline of Trauma

  1. In reading and reflecting on my own journey, life has shared its chapters of disappointment. However, God has used these pages to add discipline and maturity.

    1. I like the way you frame that as chapters and pages. We can look back and read how God used those parts of our life story to mature us. We can also share that story with others to encourage them during difficult times. Thanks for the comment. Blessings.

  2. “I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer.” C. S. Lewis

    Some of the bad things that happen to good people simply cannot be explained—at least not this side of heaven. Yet, whatever happens, God will always be God—wherever we are. Thank you for sharing this, CG.

  3. A major misunderstanding is that God only disciplines us when we’ve done something wrong. My daughter struggled with debilitating migraines for years, despite our doing everything we could to find a remedy. One day as she was discouraged and wondering what she had done wrong, I pointed out that her (at the time) boyfriend was in boot camp and going through a very hard 8 weeks. He hadn’t done anything wrong, he was being made stronger.

    1. Thank you for sharing that. That is a good example of strength building. It is hard in the midst of life’s challenges to see how it is reshaping us and making us stronger. Blessings.

  4. I do wish, sometimes, that we received “God glasses” upon salvation, that we could see His glory in our trials and sufferings. I suppose we do have those, in a way, through His Holy Spirit. But it’s hard to polish those lenses, full of tears as they are, to see.

    1. Yes, it can be difficult to see God’s glory when going through trauma. Hebrews 11:1 comes to mind: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (NASB).” Blessings.

  5. I have th. at same conclusion looking back at some time periods where I was beaten down with some very harsh times in life. My oldest claims I went for 3 years without smiling. Yet God used it to reshape many things within me

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