Trauma and the Mission Field

From the Editor

Trauma and the Mission Field


Getting to know ourselves and our neighbours

Another year has begun with reminders everywhere that creation groans for the return of Jesus, our Saviour (Romans 8:22). Diane Langberg, globally recognized for her work with victims of trauma, suggests that “the trauma of this world is one of the primary mission fields of the twenty-first century.”1 Her encouragement to us as God’s people is for each of us to dig deeper into the heart of the Saviour, allowing Him to shine His light into any darkness that may still be lurking in our own hearts, that we may then be used even more effectively to go boldly into places in need of His light also.2 This is a double-pronged challenge to followers of Christ—to press beyond nominal or comfortable faith, daring to go into the uncomfortable places within that may have remained untouched or unchallenged, and becoming more aware of what is going on in unfamiliar people and scenarios around us. And relying on Him, we can make an impact greater than we could ask or think.

The prophet Isaiah proclaimed the coming of the Son of God, the Messiah, who would bring salvation to the earth, and deliverance to all who were waiting for the fulfilment of God’s promises:

“The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined” (Isaiah 9:2, NKJV).

His coming in human form was the embodiment of God’s promise to establish His rule in both our hearts and lives:

“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6-7, NKJV).

girl sitting on the stairs with her head in her handsThese promises are still ours for all who will take hold of them by faith, alert to the ways Jesus is present and still working—in our own hearts and in the people and circumstances around us. There are many examples in the Old Testament of times when God drew near to His creation to show His care and concern for our everyday lives. From the story of Elijah and the widow at Zarephath who had just run out of food and then later lost her son (1 Kings 17:7-24), to Elisha and the woman from Shunem who longed for children but never expressed it (2 Kings 4:8-37), we see that God not only cares about our spiritual condition but about what we are experiencing in our earthly moments and seasons.

Narratives in the New Testament revealed God’s heart in a similar way. Jesus Himself did not merely proclaim the kingdom He came to establish; He demonstrated its reality by impacting earthly problems supernaturally, leaving a mark that went beyond merely pointing to spiritual transformation. This pattern naturally transferred to His disciples, whom He had said would do even greater works than He would once He went back to the Father (John 14:12) and sent the Spirit to help and empower them (Luke 24:44-49).

We have Jesus as the incomparable Counsellor to guide us in these bewildering times—not only for our personal challenges but also for the challenges of those He may choose for us to lead or influence. In following Christ into dark spaces, we can keep our own hearts in tune with Jesus’s heartbeat and experience Him in new ways, opening the doors for Him to refresh us as we have refreshed others (Proverbs 11:25). And in working together as His hands and feet, we can embody the kingdom and all that it represents in bringing the good news of Jesus in word and deed to hurting and hopeless people.

This article appeared in the January/February/March 2024 issue of testimony/Enrich, a quarterly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. © 2024 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Photo by Zhivko Minkov on Unsplash.

  1. Diane Langberg, Suffering and the Heart of God: How Trauma Destroys and Christ Restores (Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2015), 9.
  2. Ibid.

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