He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Isaiah 53:3


Never have I found myself so misunderstood. Never have I found Christ’s importance to people with mental health issues so underappreciated.

People to whom I’ve expressed my frustrations on this issue must be tiring of me, because I can’t let up. I very much need understanding, but am not getting it. People just don’t get it.

But Jesus does. He gets it.

When we look at the Scripture above, those who best relate to this description of Jesus will be those who have suffered mentally or emotionally. They know what it is to be despised and rejected. They know what it means to be shunned. They know how it feels to be considered inferior.

They understand Christ’s suffering, because many will have suffered in similar ways. They can feel along with Jesus.

Sometimes, they too cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46) They weep with Jesus as he weeps with them.

Suffering like this is a lonely business and people with mental health issues have pain that often blinds them, temporarily forgetting Christ’s presence. They need understanding individuals who will stay with them, drawing them back, closer to the One who understands—the One who heals. Empathy is important.

But where will this empathy come from?

The best will come from those who have suffered and have found Christ’s compassion themselves. “[God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Cor 1:4)

Jesus is the only One who knows the kind of pain we live with. He is the only One who can help us endure it. We need him desperately. We need to be reminded of him by people who understand us—those who have walked in our shoes, even if only for a while.

Thousands of people like me are living with mental health issues. We need Jesus. And yet there are so few who understand us—so few who are able and willing to bring us the Jesus who weeps with us—the Jesus who can heal us.

Christ’s words to his disciples speak loudly to me today: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” (Matthew 9:37)