"He was despised and rejected by people,
one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness;
people hid their faces from him;
he was despised
and we considered him insignificant."
Loneliness by Hans Thoma
As a mental health provider, I am also acquainted with illness and with individuals that experience pain.
There are those that suffer with mental health challenges.
And those that love someone suffering with a mental health challenge.
There are those that have been abused.
And those that abuse others. Often because they were also once abused.
There are those that sit alone on the side of the street.
And those that walk right by.
There are those that are alone and hopeless in their illness.
And those that suffer along with them.
There are those that we hide our face from.
We don't answer the phone when they call.
Or the door when they stop by.
We offer them a polite smile...but none of our time.
They're too needy.
We consider them insignificant.
Now, I'll stop here and say that I'm not too big on theology and doctrine and having all of the answers to the why and how and why-nots of suffering.
We suffer. God allows it.
No, I don't understand why. No, I don't pretend to.
But then there is Jesus.
And He has shown us that God also suffers. Deeply.
He knows our suffering. He weeps. He screams. He dies.
He knows illness. He knows abuse. He knows neglect. He knows trauma.
He knows loneliness. He knows need.
He felt abandoned. He felt despised.
In mental health, research is showing that some of the best evidence-based support is "peer-support."
The people that offer the most help and hope are those with "lived experience."
--those that have walked in our shoes, along our roads, and have known our pain.
I guess research is showing that God knows exactly what we need. I guess He's pretty smart.
He knows we need a peer.
We need a God that experiences pain.