Suffering and the Heart of God: How Trauma Destroys and Christ Restores

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9781942572022: Suffering and the Heart of God: How Trauma Destroys and Christ Restores
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Do Trauma and Abuse Have the Last Word?

When someone suffers through trauma, can healing happen? And, if yes, how does it happen? Dr. Diane Langberg tackles these complex and difficult questions with the insights she has gained through more than forty years of counseling those whose lives have been destroyed by trauma and abuse. Her answer carefully explained in Suffering and the Heart of God is Yes, what trauma destroys, Christ can and does restore.

But it s not a fast process, instead much patience is required from family, friends, and counselors as they wisely and respectfully help victims unpack their traumatic suffering through talking, tears, and time. And it s not a process that can be separated from the work of God in both a counselor and counselee. Dr. Langberg calls all of those who wish to help sufferers to model Jesus s sacrificial love and care in how they listen, love, and guide. The heart of God is revealed to sufferers as they grow to understand the cross of Christ and how their God came to this earth and experienced such severe suffering that he too is well-acquainted with grief. The cross of Christ is the lens that transforms and redeems traumatic suffering and its aftermath, not only for the sufferer, but it also transforms those who walk with the suffering. This book will be a great help to anyone who loves, listens to, and seeks to help someone impacted by trauma and abuse. There is no quick fix, but there is the hope for healing through the love of God in Christ.

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About the Author:

Diane Langberg, PhD, is a world-recognized authority on sex-trafficking and violence against women, setting up training programs to assist Rwandans and many others around the world in working with victims of trauma. She also directs her own Christian counseling practice, employing about fifteen other counselors, and was co-founder of The Place of Refuge, an innercity nonprofit in Philadelphia that works with the traumatized. Among Dr. Langberg s books are Counsel for Pastors Wives, On the Threshold of Hope, and Counseling Survivors of Sexual Abuse. She has also written an article for the book Reformed Means Missional, which has also been released as a minibook entitled Bringing Christ to Abused Women.

Review:

“In a poetic, powerful, passionate, and challenging book, Diane Langberg, with her many years of counseling experience, takes us on a disturbing (and healing) journey into the hearts of the survivors of many different types of terrible trauma all over the world—into our own bent and broken hearts, and then into the heart of an amazing, loving God who was humiliated, crucified, and abandoned so that we (and the whole creation) might be healed and delivered from the power of evil. This is a superb master-class in counseling and pastoral care with a gifted, experienced, and wise therapist.”
Richard Winter, MD, Therapist and Professor of Practical Theology and Counseling, Covenant Theological Seminary


“Through this book, Dr. Langberg names one of the most insidious threats to spiritual health in our generation: trauma and the wounded heart. While disturbing, her unrelenting campaign identifies the next
‘mission field’ of the church, those who are suffering silently. This book is for all who hunger to help a loved one, congregant, or client apply the truth of God’s Word as a healing ointment to the hidden anguish that trauma leaves in its wake.”
Roy Peterson, President, American Bible Society

“This book reflects the glory and love of God throughout forty years of counseling experience. Diane is a masterful teacher and counselor for victims of abuse and violence. Reflecting Christ, she inspires new and experienced counselors and encourages them to bring the love of God to suffering hearts. This book is a masterpiece.”
Luciene Schalm, President of REVER (Restoring Lives, Equipping Restorers) Ministry, Brazil; missionary of Comunidade Cristã Siloé


“We live in a broken world and evil is real. Where the true light of the gospel of Christ goes, the darkness of evil in this world retreats. William Wilberforce reflected the character of Christ into the eighteenth century British Empire and faithfully led the fight against slavery for forty years until it was outlawed. Diane Langberg has for forty years looked into the eyes of those wounded by evil and been a powerful voice for healing, justice, and truth. This book is a place of insight, wisdom, encouragement, and challenge for the body of Christ to love our precious Lord and to reflect his heart and love to the brokenhearted.”
Greg Pritchard, PhD, Director of European Leadership Forum, President of Forum of Christian Leaders


“Diane Langberg has seen the effects of trauma all over the globe from Rwandan survivors of genocide, to inner city kids plagued with PTSD, to suburban moms trapped in violent marriages, to middle schoolers who cut themselves just to feel something, to big steeple pastors in American churches. Suffering is real and it really hurts body and soul. In Suffering and the Heart of God, Diane Langberg never diminishes the pain of suffering, but neither does she despair. By looking to the suffering of the cross of Christ, Diane Langberg leads us to hope and healing.”
Frank A. James, PhD, DPhil, President, Biblical Theological Seminary


“This book is a powerful invitation into the fellowship of the suffering, a reparative work of the vulnerable, afflicted, and abused. Dr. Langberg is gentle and caring to the victims, confrontational to the abusers, and challenging to the church, which often fails to be a refuge. As a therapist and trainer, this is the best manual I’ve seen on what a therapist’s heart should look like. A good portion of the book is dedicated to teaching how not to be consumed by the evil in this world, pointing to Christ who can offer restoration to all.”
Stefana-Ioana Racorean, Family psychotherapist and trainer, Dianoia Institute of Family Therapy and Systemic Practice; The Association of Christian Psychologists in Romania

“As someone who has prosecuted, investigated, and confronted child sexual abuse for over twenty years, I have encountered dark suffering up close. As a Christian, I have spent many hours agonizing how to reconcile such suffering with a God who calls himself “love.” Suffering and the Heart of God is an amazing book that does a masterful job in helping to see suffering through the heart of a loving God who knows and understands suffering and the pain it creates. This book brings hope to the sufferer who wonders where God is in the midst of it all. It’s a must-read!”
Boz Tchividjian, JD, Executive Director, GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment)

“I challenge you to name a more influential Christian psychologist today than Dr. Langberg. This is not hyperbole! While an impressive communicator, brilliant thinker, and an astute therapist, the real reason for her influence is her willingness to be a student first—of broken people, of herself, and of God. Too often influential leaders spend much time touting themselves. This book will show you something different, in that you will see more of God and his heart for suffering people than you will of Dr. Langberg—just as she would want it.”
Philip G. Monroe, PsyD, Professor of Counseling & Psychology, Biblical Seminary Graduate School of Counseling and Global Trauma Recovery Institute


“God never wastes a wound. He is in the midst of our darkest moment revealing himself—full of love, truth, hope, and healing. This book is an absolute treasure—a gift of grace to us all.”
Tim Clinton, President, American Association of Christian Counseling


“Diane Langberg brings to these moving essays decades of experience working with trauma survivors in the United States and abroad. This is no arms-length reflection on the nature of human suffering. Throughout, she repeatedly points her readers to Jesus Christ, the Suffering Servant, who is the only hope for victim and perpetrator alike—and for the counselor who desires to be used by God to make a difference amidst terrible brokenness and sin.”
Michael R. Emlet, MDiv, MD, Faculty and Counselor, the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF); author of CrossTalk: Where Life and Scripture Meet

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