Just looking at someone, it’s impossible to know what experiences they carry with them. But the Bible speaks strongly into issues of suffering and trauma, as David Walter, Regional Secretary for the South Pacific points out. Recently, TSCF, the national movement in Papua New Guinea, held their Mid-Year Bible Summit student conference, with the theme ‘Wounds of the Heart and the Hope of the Psalms.’ They looked at Psalm 30:11:
‘You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.’
‘We have just had such a week’, write Keith and Marion, volunteer staff with TCSF. ‘Sometimes when our Lord turns on the tap, it really is astonishing. It’s been far more than we asked or thought.’
One student called the Summit a time of ‘deep healing’. ‘I never really understood my feelings’, she says. ‘But through the laments of the psalms and our discussions about hidden emotions, I was able to really pinpoint the feelings under the surface and come before God in humility to let him heal me, as I receive his forgiveness.
‘My father, who is a musician, was never home when I was growing up. He never seemed to have time for me. I developed this idea that he does not love me, which led me to despise him. However, deep down I needed his attention. Understanding that no human relationship can fulfil us the way God can, through Psalm 42, has given a freedom I have never felt in my life. Because now I want God’s Word more than anything else in this world.’
This student also survived an attempted sexual assault as a teenager, a trauma that left her with deep emotional wounds. ‘I never really healed from that traumatic event’, she explains. ‘I have triggers that set me off, and I experience depressive episodes that last for weeks and months.’ But as she testifies, some level of change began at the Summit through reading the Scripture. ‘I experienced healing from that emotional wound this week’, she writes, ‘as we went through the Psalms of Lament. The over-thinking has stopped and the shame and fear I’ve been carrying all these years have been lifted. I experienced that “weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5). I felt washed in the Word, renewed and free from the pain I have been carrying for nine years.’
Pray with us for TSCF Papua New Guinea:
- Thank God for these revelations and pray that these students would continue to trust in Jesus and find deep joy in him.
- Pray for the strengthening and flourishing of TSCF, that they might be able to share the gospel with more students.
- Pray that TSCF students will be salt and light in their families, universities, and throughout their lives.