“Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
Are you grieving the loss of a loved one right now? The experience can be overwhelming and trigger many emotions. Perhaps you are feeling extreme highs and extreme lows. Perhaps you feel extremely tired and just wish to sleep. Perhaps you are trying to busy yourself with distractions to hide your pain. Maybe you feel your personal world has come to a standstill for the moment and you’re stuck in one place. Maybe you feel angry or scared because of what happened. Perhaps you blame yourself and feel regret. Maybe you are thinking of what could have been if things would have had a different outcome. You may feel your hopes and dreams for the future have been shattered and are lying in a million pieces on the floor. All of these feelings are a normal part of the grieving process.
It is important to eventually let yourself feel the pain and sorrow of a loss. You must stop and let the feelings flow. Unbury them and then release yourself from the distractions that have kept you preoccupied. Take time to be still and to let the grief happen. You do not have to experience grief alone, although for a time you may need to accept what has occurred before you are ready to share your grief with someone else. There are many people who deeply care about you, and wish to be there to help you get through your grief. Jesus is always there beside us too. The Bible has much to say about grief. Below are some highlights from God’s Word to help you in your grieving process. I hope they will be of comfort to you during this difficult time in your life.
There is no pain and suffering in heaven. We will never have to grieve another death and experience the emptiness the loss of life can bring. We will never have to watch someone surrender to illness or disease ever again. Heaven is a place filled with joy where God makes all things new. Paul writes, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.'” (Revelation 21:4-7)
Jesus was human too, and He knows what it feels like suffer and die. He can relate to what you are going through having experienced it firsthand Himself. He experienced all manner of suffering. He was beaten, tortured, separated from God by our sins, and then nailed to a cross to die a criminal’s death. All this, while man mocked him, rejected him and despised Him–Jesus–the son of God who was sent to Earth to save the very ones who were bent on destroying Him. Isaiah wrote,“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-5) If anyone understands what you are going through right now, it is Jesus.
Our God is the God of all comfort, and He gives us the Holy Spirit to help comfort us. Your pain may be great and nothing on Earth may seem to take it away. Your heart aches and your feelings might seem overwhelming and uncontrollable. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26) You may not be able to move past this point in your life with ease. It’s normal to feel this way, and God will always be right there with you. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) God can be a great source of comfort when nothing or no one else can be that source. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) John also reminds us over and over again that Christians have the Comforter, or Holy Spirit, both with us and in us to help us, teach us and guide us in Truth. He will be with us forever. (See John 14:15-17; John 14:25-26; John 15:26; John 16:7,8; and Jon 16:13-15.) Jesus promised us comfort. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4) When Jesus’ dear friend Lazarus died and his friends were grief stricken we read in John 11:35 that Jesus wept over the loss of his dear friend and cried with those who were in mourning. Jesus understands what we are going through when we go before Him seeking comfort.
For God’s children–Christians– we know death represents the end of our physical presence here on Earth, but the beginning of a glorious new beginning in heaven. Jesus was victorious on the cross having overcome death and paving the way for us to live eternally. “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 25:8) You may experience sorrow right now, but soon your sorrow will be replaced with hope for things to come. “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14) Because of Jesus, we have the hope that comes from salvation. Praise God that Jesus came to Earth, died, and rose again and stood victoriously as a shining beacon of hope for humanity! “O death, where is thy sting? 0 grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
God has an appointed time for everything. Perhaps the passing of a loved one happened very suddenly without warning or sooner than expected. Perhaps it seemed to come too soon or at an inconvenient time. This can make it very hard on you, especially if you did not have a chance to say goodbye, share all of the things you wanted to say, or experience life’s big moments together. God knows when it is our time to go, even though we may not understand it. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build.” God’s ways are often mysterious to us. When He formed us, He knew how long we would be on Earth. “Is there not an appointed time to man upon the Earth? Are not his days also like that of a hireling?” (Job 7:1) I am always amazed that even through the loss of life, God is working in the hearts and lives of those of us in mourning. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Some of the ways God has used the loss of loved a one for good may become readily apparent. Perhaps a broken relationship is mended, someone gives his or her life to the Lord or a family is brought closer together. In the weeks, months and years ahead it will be a wondrous experience to learn all of the ways a person’s passing has touched the lives of countless others who knew him or her. Sometimes big things happen like the formation of a new nonprofit organization to help people suffering through a similar experience as your loved one did. Sometimes subtle things happen like spiritual growth and maturity or a renewed inward sense of purpose.
Jesus can replace your fears and anxieties about the future with peace. As Christians, we know our future is bright in the Lord. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be.” (John 14:27) Jesus has already overcome the world, so you can rest easy that He will take care of your future. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) When you feel fearful and anxious about all of the unknowns, you can bring these feelings before God. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4) God wants to take away all of our fears, doubts, worries and troubles. We don’t need to carry that kind of baggage with us. It stagnates and paralyzes us. God wants to exchange them for peace, rest and hope. What a great tradeoff! “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 28-30) To cast off your burdens, you must stand before the throne of God. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) God can then guide us in our daily walk. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” (Proverbs 3:5-8) God has promised us a great future, and we can rest assured He will lead us into it. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Praise God for who He is, what He has accomplished, and for what He is doing in your life! Seek Him out, and He will find you and direct your steps, one day at a time.
Pray this Prayer: “Dear God, I thank you that you have overcome death and lead me unto victory. The battle is already won. Thank you for the hope we have for our future because of our salvation. You are the God of all comfort. Please comfort me during this time of pain and sorrow and heal my broken heart. Replace my fears and anxieties with hope and a renewed sense of purpose. Please direct my steps day by day as I face new realities in this life without my loved one. Give me peace and rest and joy. May I seek you all the days of my life and make each day I have left on this Earth count for You. In Jesus’ Holy name, amen.”