I receive a lot of inquiries from people asking for advice about living with mental illness, loving someone with a mental disorder, and doing ministry among people with mental illness and their families. I can’t offer the kind of advice and help a mental health professional can give, but I can point people in the direction of resources that might help them. Sometimes it’s a matter of just introducing people to resources that are available. Sometimes it’s a matter of sharing my own personal experience and my own perspective.
Occasionally I share some of these interactions* here, for the benefit of others who may have similar questions.
Question: I live with a serious mental illness, and I believe God can heal me. Do you ever hear of people who are miraculously healed from mental illness? While I want to believe the Lord will heal me, sometimes I think he doesn’t heal me because I don’t deserve it. I do believe in Jesus, and I read the Bible and pray, but I’m afraid God has given up on me and will send me to hell. Living this way is so hard.
Answer: I’m so sorry to hear of your troubles. What a difficult trial you face. To answer your question, I have heard of a few people who say they’ve been miraculously healed of mental illness. But for most people who do experience some healing, it comes as a result of faithfully taking medication, participating in therapy over a long period of time, making healthy lifestyle choices, and involvement in a loving community of Christians. I hope you have, or can find, a few people who support you and encourage you to believe the truth about Jesus and about yourself.
You’re right, the Lord can heal you and can make you whole. But usually–just as with other forms of illness–he provides that wholeness through the work of doctors, medications, and counselors.
Please remember that all of us are undeserving of God’s grace. Even the most righteous, most well-behaved person on earth is full of sin and unworthy of the love Jesus offers us. So his grace and his free gift to you have absolutely nothing to do with what you’ve done, how you feel, or even the thoughts you continue to have. He loves you regardless–just the same as he loves me or your pastor or anyone else. If you have asked him for forgiveness, he has forgiven you. You can live in the freedom and light of that truth. You can make good choices to get more and more mentally healthy, a little bit at a time, without worrying about hell. “There is now no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Jesus doesn’t want you to live in fear and guilt. He wants you to accept his love and forgiveness and take good care of yourself so you can be the person he has placed you on earth to be. He has a purpose for you.
*Questions have been modified to protect privacy.
© 2015 Amy Simpson.