International (MNN) — Many Christians going through difficult times find comfort in Scripture. However, in traumatic circumstances, finding peace in God’s Word isn’t always easy. And there’s a reason why.
Amy Fields works with SIL International and Wycliffe Bible Translators USA on Bible-based trauma healing. She explains, “Trauma is anything that causes people fear, a sense of helplessness, or horror. This can come about as a result of things as serious as going through your civil war or rape. But it can also come about as a result of something as common as losing your health, losing your job, or perhaps a natural disaster, things like that.
“When a person is traumatized…there is actually a block that comes about between their head and their heart. It makes it to where they are literally not able to get anything out of Scripture at that point.”
Around 20 years ago, SIL developed this Bible-based trauma healing program in Central Africa amidst the throes of civil war.
“The pastors came to SIL at that time and said, ‘We don’t know what’s wrong with our people. They are hearing God’s Word, but it’s like they can’t apply it to their lives.’”
The pastors asked for a program that would help people see how the Bible addresses big questions and can help deal with trauma specifically.
“The trauma healing program is a Scripture engagement tool,” Fields explains. “It’s basically a way that churches can help people to see that Scripture is practical, not just for the big crises,…and helps them to be using the Bible more effectively.”
Part of the trauma healing program uses stories — one modern-day and one biblical — to facilitate the lessons, which are followed by questions. Fields describes it as “very hands-on.”
Since its inception, SIL’s Bible-based trauma healing program has spread to West Africa, parts of Asia, and even North America and South America.
“We have trained quite a few people in Puerto Rico where they had Hurricane Maria a couple of years ago. People are really taking off with that there and all the places in Central America where they’re just struggling with emotional upheaval as a result of the economic crisis and all the different problems that they have with gangs and so forth.”
Running the trauma healing program alongside Bible translation efforts is also proving effective as they reach into communities with healing.
“As the Bible is being translated, we’re always looking for ways to make it practical for people so that they can understand how to use it and so that it’s not just a book that sitting on the shelf somewhere, but it’s being used in discipleship and in churches.”
For example, they are completing a Bible translation for a language group in West Africa. The area they work in sees hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing terrorism and violence.
Fields says, “Their villages have been attacked and girls have been kidnapped. So these people really have experienced a lot of trauma and need a lot of help in dealing with that.”
As they complete Bible translations and teach speakers God’s truth, the trauma healing program helps survivors find applicable hope and peace in Scripture.
Please pray for the people going through the Bible-based trauma healing program. Ask God to fill their hearts and minds with scriptural peace.
Header photo courtesy of Wycliffe USA.