Faith is a two-sided coin. One side is having something to reach for and hope in. The other side of faith involves learning to trust when suffering, loss and fear rush in.
Though, mental illness is often a physical problem rooted in the brain chemistry, it has spiritual symptoms.
Christians in particular often experience guilt, fear and shame when their mind is not working well. Most know that poor eyesight requires glasses and diabetics need to take their insulin. But the maladies of the mind seem to cause us to question God and our faith. It’s a physical problem, but it has spiritual symptoms.
We can all take comfort in seeing the challenges of Bible characters that suffered physically, mentally and in every way imaginable. As Rielly McLaren said, ‘You are in good company.’
Writer and mental health advocate Andy Behrman has suffered with manic depression. He said,
The guilt I felt for having a mental illness was horrible. I prayed for a broken bone that would heal in six weeks. But that never happened. I was cursed with an illness that nobody could see and nobody knew much about.[i]
Mental pain can actually be worse than physical pain. As much as it can happen, the sufferer needs to let others come alongside them in the darkness and uncertainty of their pain. Sometimes, you have to go along with the wisdom of others bringing you to help, before you can walk on your own again.