Where is God in the chaos of mental illness?

Tessa Sheaf

Mental illness can make us uncomfortable, it confronts our view of how things should be. Perhaps that is a good thing, writes Tessa Sheaf, a practising psychotherapist who lives near Oxford.

Is God to be found in the chaos, confusion, pain and suffering that mental illness can cause in families? Faith gives an affirmative answer but somehow this is difficult to perceive when one is sinking in the turmoil and upheaval of mental distress in the family. Scripture can come to our aid.

Luke 7.36-50 gives us a riveting example of a woman, shunned by respectable society, who managed to disrupt and transform a dinner party ? an event not uncommon in situations of mental distress. Poor Simon, the Pharisee host. Maybe we can afford to feel some sympathy for the ill-prepared man who took the risk of inviting this somewhat maverick prophet to a meal at his home. Are we also possibly somewhat foolish to invite Jesus into our lives? Would we want him to celebrate meals with us?

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