by Catherine Townsend-Lyon | Tony Roberts
last week, Tony began a subscriber survey that has thus far proven very fruitful. He learned more about who his readers are and what they are looking for when they visit Delight In Disorder…
“Some of the most revealing content came from the comments provided in the “other” category. When asked what sort of posts would be most helpful, one reader replied: ”
“… how God feels about mental illness and why He allows it. I know cancer patients, for example, feel the same way, but you won’t hear anyone abandoning them. Instead they receive love, prayers, and casseroles. Living alone with a debilitating illness is so hard.”
This thoughtful response raises many profound questions. I want to carefully and prayerfully respond. Yet, please understand that I am not an expert theologian or a mental health professional. Instead, I am a believer in Christ who has lived with a mental illness for over 30 years. This doesn’t give me all the answers but helps me better understand the questions.
How does God feel about mental illness? Why does He allow it?
I feel much more confident answering the former question than the latter. The depth of God’s love for us surpasses any love we could have for each other. When we look to Jesus Christ and his feelings for us, God’s emotions are revealed. Jesus became furious at religious leaders who were excluding “imperfect” (sinners) from full participation in worship. Jesus went to outer regions to reach out to those dismissed as “demon possessed” and freed them from the captivity that caused them to be separated from the faith community. Like the Samaritan lifting the bleeding man out of the ditch and caring for him, Jesus cares for those who are hurting, both physically and emotionally.
So, why? I want to approach this more as a prayer than an accusation. . . .