Freedom From Nightmares

by Tad Lindley

Across this region, live many men and women who have served in combat from the Aleutian campaign in World War II to Korea, to Vietnam, and most recently the Middle East. Even the work our soldiers did in the Aleutians was psychologically devastating. Some came back and were never the same again. If you are a combat veteran, or just someone who has suffered horrific circumstances in life and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this column is for you. It is my prayer that you will find the beginnings of peace in the testimony below.

Sgt. Perkins, USMC

Mitchell Perkins was a sergeant in the US Marine Corps with the 1st Battalion 4th Marine Infantry Battalion. Sgt. Perkins saw three combat tours in Iraq including the invasion with RCT1 all the way to Bagdad, the Battle of Najaf, and routine border patrols. I know that many of our Guardsmen and enlisted service men and women have come home only to find they cannot simply walk away from the wounds of war. I ran into Sergeant Perkins at camp meeting and he shared this testimony with me and with his permission and blessing I pass it on to you. The Bible tells us, They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony… (Revelation 12:11) 

Terror in the night

There were times when I would not go to sleep for two or three days, because of the nightmares. When I was in the throes of PTSD, I could tell I had had a nightmare, because after waking up I would still smell the gunsmoke. My muscles would be aching, my joints would be aching, I would have soaked the bed with sweat, you could almost wring out the mattress it would be so wet. You cannot trick someone who is plagued with those kind of dreams by telling them they are imagining it. That was one of the first things God gave me when he first touched me was a night’s rest. It was the first night of rest I had in eight years!

Freedom from fear

I was having trouble reaching out to my fellow veterans, so I asked God, “I keep knocking, but they tell me to go away. Can you give me a miraculous key that will unlock the door so I can reach those who are suffering from PTSD?” You see, the VA’s current approach to PTSD related nightmares in my experience is to manage the symptoms. They try to teach us vets to manage without offering real hope. They treat with medication to manage the anxiety and the anger. This is a spiritual issue and the solution is spiritual. You need the Holy Spirit to restore your soul.

If a veteran reaches that point where he is willing to try anything

“It was sometime in January that I was praying and I heard from God. If they’ll come to me with a step of faith. If they will go to bed at night without medication, without drinking, without smoking drugs and they will read Matthew 11:28-30 out loud, and then sleep with the Bible touching their skin, He said, “I will give them a night’s sleep without nightmares.” He may not fix anything else in this way, but we will honor his word.

If you are a person struggling from PTSD, and you have tried fighting it with medication, legal or illegal, and cannot overcome it, recognize that there is one who has all power, it is the very same one who said in Matthew 11:28-30, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.

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