Robert L. Briggs is President and CEO of the American Bible Society. In a recent article for the Christian Post website, he tells about the trauma millions of Africans endured in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s during the Second Congo War. More than 5 million people lost their lives, not only through the horrors of war, but due to starvation and disease. Millions were displaced and forced to flee their homes as refugees. Those who survived suffer wounds of trauma that last until this day.
Briggs writes of a woman named Joyce, who more than a decade ago, was just one of millions who had suffered in the Second Congo War. When her husband and seven of her eight children were killed, she fled with her remaining child to a settlement community in Uganda. There, Joyce discovered new hope through a ministry devoted to helping traumatized people heal.
Following the devastation of the war, pastors, missionaries, and Christian counselors banded together to begin the hard work of restoring hope for those traumatized by violence and developed a Bible-based trauma intervention. By combining the power of God’s Word with mental health best practices and the proven benefits of small-group story-sharing, a ministry was born that brought healing to many.
The National Council on Behavioral Health tells us that 70% of American adults have experienced a traumatic event in their lives. The reality is that everybody you see struggles with something you don’t see.
Dr. Briggs writes: Try as we might, we cannot find comfort anywhere else like we find in the Bible. Inside it, we find 2,000-year-old lessons that are still the balm for our tired, weary, and troubled souls. For millennia, the Bible has been a source of healing, hope, and refuge. It has a proven impact on helping people heal from trauma and tragedies, including those of war, poverty, injustice, and violence. This is not just because some of the phrases are catchy, memorable, or controversial. It’s because there is power inside of the pages of the Bible — a power that can heal a hurting soul and lift up the brokenhearted.
I believe God can turn our trauma into triumph. Not only do I believe it, I can see it in the stories of the people we meet in the pages of the Scriptures, people like Joseph.
Back in 2013, I did a message on Joseph in a sermon series called The Story. Last year, I stumbled on some information that still stuns me about that message. It has received 80,952 views on YouTube, and counting. It is not only our most watched Journey message of all time by far, it is our most viewed message nearly every week–meaning more people watch that message from 2013 every week than they do anything we are currently preaching. I really don’t think it’s because that message was that good. I think it’s because the trauma Joseph encountered, endured and eventually emerged victorious from, speaks to something deep within so many of us who struggle with the pain, pitfalls and problems of life in a world that is not as God desires.
Since I learned that information about the number of views that single sermon on Joseph generated, I have been praying and waiting for the right time to devote an entire sermon series on the remarkable life of Joseph.
That time has come and this Sunday we will begin to learn how to turn our trauma into triumph, based on the life of Joseph, rooted in Scripture, empowered by the Holy Spirit and centered on the gospel of Jesus. I encourage you to join us in person at Apopka or Lake County, if possible, or join us online at 9:30 or 11:15AM. Can’t wait to begin this timely trauma-to-triumph journey with you.
Loving the triumphant Journey,