Emotional trauma is something you have likely heard about in recent years. But what many people don’t know is the Bible has a lot to say about emotional trauma. There are Bible verses that speak directly to trauma, trials, and tribulations–these three things greatly impact the way you view the world and relate to others.
- Discover what the Bible says about emotional trauma.
- Meditate on Bible verses about trauma and ask the Holy Spirit to replace fear and anxiety with His truth.
- Join Biblical community where you can process your emotions in a healthy way.
A Bible Story of Emotional Trauma
Hagar the Handmaid
Hagar was an Egyptian maidservant to Sarah, Abraham’s wife. The Bible said God made a covenant promise to Abraham that he would be a father to a son, and his descendants would inherit the Promised Land.
But there was a problem. Abraham and Sarah were very old, past the age of having children. So, Sarah decided for this promise to come to pass, she had to do something… that something was to give Abraham her maidservant, Hagar, so she could bore him the promised child.
Hagar became pregnant and had a son, Ishmael.
This was only the beginning of Hagar’s story. The emotional trauma she experienced after the birth of Ishmael was heavy. Immediately jealousy set it—both for Hagar and Sarah.
- “So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes. Then Sarai said to Abram, ‘My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes.’”—Genesis 16:4-5
Jealousy gave room for emotional trauma to take root. It was a lie from the enemy. He wanted to use it against Sarah and Hagar. If he could get them to partner with it, it would give him a foothold in their lives. The enemy has created a world system of lies through which he wanted Sarah and Hagar to evaluate their emotions. If he could get them to believe the lies, it would give him a foothold in their lives.
Sarah dealt with Hagar harshly, and she fled.
Hagar was found by the Angel of the Lord by a spring of water. The Angel of the Lord told her to “return and submit” to Sarah’s hand. Then He left her with a promise: “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.”—Genesis 16:10
As you can imagine, the tormenting thoughts that ran through Hagar’s mind must have consumed her. To say she was sad would be an understatement. She experienced emotional trauma—she was given by a woman to her husband as property and was then rejected by the woman for what she was asked to do.
But God saw her. He saw her in the midst of her pain. God heard her affliction, and she recognized Him as “You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, ‘Have I also here seen Him who sees me?’”—Genesis 16:13.
God gave her a covenant blessing in the midst of her emotional trauma.
When Hagar was removed from those who owned her physically, she was able to see God personally.
How the Enemy Uses Emotional Trauma
He uses the same tactics today. He looks for ways to get a foothold in your life, just as 1 Peter 5:8 says. God created our emotions to drive us to action and to live our lives in healthy connections and relationships with God and one another. The enemy looks to deceive us when it comes to our emotions. His goal is to damage our effectiveness in our relationships and create an experience other than what God has intended.
- “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”—Ephesians 6:12
The enemy is not a family member, friend, or co-worker. He is the ruler of darkness.
Ask the Lord for Healing
When emotional trauma seems to own your life, ask the Lord to separate it from you and reveal your true identity in Him. A personal relationship with Him and His community of faith is where healing from emotional trauma begins.
There are countless stories of emotional trauma in the Bible.
- David struggled with troubling thoughts and despair (Psalm 38:4).
- Elijah was discouraged and worn down (1 Kings 19:4).
- Job suffered from grief, loss, and illness (Job 3:11).
Take a moment to explore these Biblical figures and ask God to reveal truth to you from their story.
The process of healing from emotional trauma takes time. Meditating on scripture, continuing to develop your relationship with God and His community of faith, and understanding what God is revealing about your emotions through His Word leads you to recognize emotions were given by God and your needs are met in Biblical relational community.
10 Bible Verses to Battle Trauma
Recognize the lie and meditate on the truths contained in these verses to help you break the hold emotional trauma has on your thoughts.
- You will never get past this emotion, event, etc.
- “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that walk in the darkness, nor the destruction that lays waste at noonday.”—Psalm 91:4-6
- “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”—1 Peter 5:10
- God doesn’t care about your emotions.
- “’Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.’”—Matthew 11:28-30
- “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”—1 Peter 5:6-7
- God can’t be good. He caused this confusion and emotional trauma you experienced.
- “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace…”—1 Corinthians 14:33
- “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the savings of many lives.”—Genesis 50:20
- The trauma you experience is your fault, and you will forever live with it.
- “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”—1 Corinthians 5:17
- “’I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.’”—Isaiah 43:25
- You don’t need others to help you.
- “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”—Hebrews 10:24-25
- “…not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”—1 Peter 3:9
It is important to understand the enemy’s desire is to use your past emotional trauma and experiences to infiltrate your thought life with negativity. He wants to keep you from moving forward, from experiencing the freedom you have available to you through Christ. If he can keep your thoughts swirling, then he can keep you stuck in the past rather than moving forward in what Jesus has for your future.
The Bible is clear. The only way to overcome the enemy is by believing the truth found in the Word of God. Use the Word as your weapon to tear down strongholds linked to emotional trauma.
Are there lies the enemy uses against you day after day?
- Write them down.
- Then write at least one Bible verse that speaks against the lie.
- Meditate on it.
- Discuss the truth of God’s Word and your emotional trauma with your community of faith.
- Ask God to help you step into the truth.
Start experiencing the freedom and abundant life Jesus freely gives.