In “Facing Mental Illness with Faith,” (Huffington Post, 4/21/2016), Rob Lee writes this:
How odd of God to call a mentally ill person to Christian ministry, but maybe God is a little crazy. Actually, God must be crazy, how odd of God to call humanity to be better and more in tune with God’s self. But God being crazy is precisely what makes God identifiable to some. God is just crazy enough to be real, and frankly some of us need a crazy God to keep us sane. Some of us facing mental health issues need to roll away the stone of mental illness and claim the resurrecting power of vulnerability and authenticity.
How crazy is that? Some would say scandalous, maybe even heretical or blasphemous. God? Crazy? Perish the thought! But wait. Let’s look deeper.
God created ordinary people through whom He could do extraordinary things. Unlike human institutions, who only call the best and the brightest, the strongest and the fastest, God calls the least and the most humble, the weak and the slow-learner. Adam and Eve, who so soon give in to temptation, are called to be the forebears of us all. Jacob, the trickster, who cheated his brother Esau out of a his inheritance, becomes the father of many nations. Esther, known initially only as a pretty face, shows the courage to rescue her people from certain destruction. Ruth, a foreign widow, becomes the ancestor of the one we call Savior. We could go on… stuttering Moses, timid Jeremiah, woman warriors like Deborah. And that’s just in the Hebrew Scriptures.
The world doesn’t operate this way. If you want to succeed, you’ve got to pass intelligence tests, you got to demonstrate superiority, you’ve got to be confident to the point of cocky. Those of us who have mental illness, even though our lives also have meaning and purpose, easily fall through the cracks in a “normal” society. We don’t measure up. We don’t fit the blueprint, the plan our culture has laid out for its citizens.
God’s plan for His people is quite different. It seems odd to many folks, if not dangerously insane. We do not succeed by what we do or by who we are, but by Whose we are. And success is not measured in what we accumulate, or even how happy we are. Success, or, better said, Redemption, is found through suffering. Jesus Christ was made perfect through suffering not by owning casinos or being elected President.
Why suffer? One of my readers wrote to me recently that he knew many people who could do a better job than God of creating the world. What about war? Child abuse? Poverty? What about the horrendous suffering we see. Who on earth would be so inhumane as to create this?
I can’t explain to the satisfaction of many how God’s plan unfolds. I only know that God’s way is the only Way to move us from the excruciating pain of suffering to ecstatic joy of Paradise. Jesus Christ bears the weight of our suffering on the cross. He dies to set us free from the chains of death.
How crazy is that? God’s crazy love in Jesus Christ makes no sense for someone who wants a predictable, manageable, easy to grasp world and god. Our God is a living fire, a double edged sword, a bush that burns but isn’t consumed. Our God is the One who created us good, who walks with us in the craziness of this life, and who escorts us into a new heaven and new earth.
Crazy, isn’t it?