Since my people are crushed, I am crushed;
I mourn, and horror grips me.
Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then is there no healing
for the wound of my people?
Jeremiah 8 :21-22
Healing for God’s people
Last year I had the privilege of meeting a pastor who had previously been an army commander. He said, “My flashbacks are brutal. They wake me up at night and take me back to the war. It’s as if I am there again, and again and again. One particular image won’t let me go. Sometimes these thoughts assault my mind when I am preaching, and I can barely finish my sermon. I have asked the Lord to take these thoughts away, but he has not answered this prayer. In my country men don’t talk about fears because it’s a sign of weakness. I am a man of God, but I am frightened these thoughts are trying to kill me.
He asked me to help him process his pain and better understand what the Bible says about suffering. I started to meet more and more Christian leaders in restricted countries for the gospel who were telling me the same story: thirty years ago, Bibles were the greatest need, now, as persecution increases worldwide, and Christians have more access to digital resources, the greatest need is for believers to receive training and support in how to process trauma biblically. This is the foundation to all other forms of discipleship.
As Christians we often walk rather clumsily between two dangerous trenches when it comes to addressing trauma: we either believe that the mentally wounded should always find victory in Christ over their pain, or, we insist that lifelong psychological trauma is better handled by clinical experts and psychiatric medicine.
The alarming increase in suicide in Australia, tells us that psychology alone is inadequate for addressing the feelings of hopelessness haunting our young adults. Yet we are inundated with health professionals.
Sri Lanka has a population of 21.6 million people and there are less than 20 psychologists in the entire country. In most other third world nations, the options for psychiatric intervention are just as limited. This means that the church must be the balm of healing not only to the body of Christ, but to its nation. Our capacity to walk with the broken is essential to impacting nations with the healing love of Jesus Christ.
Why we started ‘Planted for Purpose'
When I started speaking with Christian leaders and health professionals about what kind of trauma recovery training was out there, I was surprised at how few options were available. We looked at several courses on trauma recovery. We didn’t feel that any of them addressed the deepest issues with the best of science and Scripture in a way that gloried God and provided a foundation for further training. We wanted a seminar that was accessible and cost effective, deliverable by local leaders under crisis conditions, and could be easily adapted to any language, culture or setting. Planted for Purpose has been approved by two Christian psychologist and is the first fruit of our vision to help Christians in the hardest places find their voice again to share Jesus boldly and beautifully.
Simon & Allison