God created us as emotional beings, and we tend to want to experience some emotions more than others. And rightfully so! Give me happiness over sadness. I would much rather have excitement than dread. And calmness trumps fear.
One emotion that most of us would want to avoid, if possible, is grief. However, grief is a natural part of life, and navigating the grieving process can be difficult. The dictionary defines grief as “deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone’s death.” The Mayo Clinic says, “Grief is a strong, sometimes overwhelming emotion for people, regardless of whether their sadness stems from the loss of a loved one or from a terminal diagnosis they or someone they love have received…Grief is the natural reaction to loss.”
Generally speaking, there are five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Not everyone will go through all five steps, but dealing with grief is hard work. When a loved one dies, there is an immediate outpouring of sympathy, but within about 14 days, everyone else is “back to normal,” and you may feel alone. Remember that you are not alone. Although grief is hard work, God says that He will be with you in the process.
We are all unique, so we grieve differently. Some may go through the process quickly, while for others, it takes a long time. There is no “magic formula” for grief, but here are several Scriptures (ESV) that can help you as you grieve.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
God is compassionate. He sees your pain and wants to comfort you.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
God helps us in our grief.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Fix your focus on Jesus. In your weakness allow Him to be strong.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
Look to the Lord. He is our help.
“…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
God is with us and we do not have to fear. We are not alone. He supports and sustains us.
“For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love.”
The Lord loves you constantly. In your pain, His love for you does not change.
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’”
For the believer death is not the end. Jesus is the resurrection and life.
“Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
Jesus is preparing a place for those who put their hope in Him.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Peace comes from God. He gives it to us in the midst of our grief.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Grief is painful, unpleasant, and not easy, but God can work good in the midst of it.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Jesus is victorious over death. We have eternal life in Him.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Grief is a natural emotion, but believers have hope in their grief because of Jesus.
“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.”
We grieve and deal with death now, but one day we will not have to.
As stated earlier, grief is a hard process, but you don’t have to do it alone. God is with you and He has given us family, friends and the church as tremendous helps to us. Please see the resources listed below for more Scripture, support, and thoughts that can help you in your grief.