When Jesus says, “Now is your time of grief,” He’s acknowledging His disciples’ pain and by extension, ours as well. He doesn’t minimize their sadness, but rather assures them that the sorrows of this world are momentary in comparison to the eternal glory to come. Of all I’m certain to lose in this life, this truest of joys shall ever be mine: nothing—absolutely nothing—can keep me from the eternal embrace of everlasting arms.
Christine Chappell is the Podcast Host at the Institute of Biblical Counseling & Discipleship, Author of Clean Home, Messy Heart: Promises of Renewal, Hope, and Change for Overwhelmed Moms and Help! My Teen is Depressed. Find her Hope + Help Podcast here.
“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:16 NIV)
Have you ever seen a sunflower overdue for harvesting? The heavy tear-shaped seeds weigh down the neck of the flower, sinking low. I imagine that’s how I look often. The enormity of the loss manifests in physical pain, across my chest and shoulders. It causes my head to hang low.
But I love how sunflowers are worshippers… how they rise up and follow the sun. I imagine when they’re so full of tears and seeds, that the sun gives them a supernatural strength beyond their own. Psalm 3:3 has held me tight the way the sun holds on to the sunflowers’ heavy chins. He is the Lifter of my Head. When sorrow, exhaustion, hopelessness and tears make my head hang low, I receive this supernatural strength to lift my head and still praise Him. I imagine He lifts my head with both hands cupped around my face and I receive the delight, comfort, and hope in His gaze toward me.
Danita Jenae is a military widow, young mom, author, artist and prayer warrior. She helps the broken-hearted learn to carry both joy and sorrow in the same breath. Find Danita’s powerful, free 5-day devotional, “5 Graces to Walk Through Fire” and The Grief Collective launching soon.
DORINA LAZO GILMORE-YOUNG
For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.” (Isaiah 54:5 ESV)
Her circumstances were all too familiar. Just one year before, I had walked through a heartbreaking divorce too. God had met me in my pain, and now He was asking me to offer comfort and support to her. Sharing my broken story brought purpose to my pain as well as healing to her heart. Friend, God can do the same for you as you share your grief story and help another hurting heart. This is why I love these verses; they have become my life verse.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. ” (Rev 21:4 ESV)
Grief can chip away our confidence, create doubts where they did not exist before, and Satan knows this to be true, and makes plans to use it against us. When my son was killed, I grasped God’s word for what it was — life.
Some of the first verses to breathe life into my grief-stricken heart were John 14:2-3. Jesus speaks to the disciples words that bring me comfort and peace, reassuring me that He has gone before us to prepare a place. As a mom, I know what it is to prepare a place for your children. These verses remind me of His great love for us and the preparations He has done to create our Eternal Home.
Jodie Barrett is a girl who loves Jesus and sharing his word. Jodie is a wife, mom and a new Gigi. Some of her favorite people are her husband, Thomas, and her adult children, Ryan, who resides in heaven, and Lauren, who resides with her husband, Dylan, and their little man, Kolton. She’s and author of Jingle and Joy: Praying Beneath the Tree and a ministry leader with Faithfully Following Ministries. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.
SARA R. WARD
In the moments after learning my son could not survive life outside the womb, I told God, “You either have to be everything you say you are, or I am done. I can’t do this.” Burying a son was not the story I had written. It wasn’t the story I wanted to tell. But as grief hollowed me out in the days and months that followed, God filled the space where my expectations once lived. His presence met me in my broken places, His nearness providing answers this life couldn’t offer. And as time and lament and the goodness of God provided healing, I began to see being crushed as a gift—not because I lost a son (I will always want him back), but because the grief became an invitation into the Love of the Divine. His presence was not the answer I wanted, but it became the only answer I needed.
“You have known the troubles of my soul, and have not handed me over to the enemy. You have set my feet in a spacious place.” (Psalm 31:7-8 HCSB)
“Peter asked Jesus, ‘What about him, Lord?’ Jesus replied, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.’” (John 21:21-22 NLT)
“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.'” (Isaiah 43:1-2 ESV)
This is my go-to passage in suffering because it encourages me not to fear, which is inevitably part of my grief. I’m afraid of the future and this reassures me that because Christ has redeemed me, I need not be afraid. God knows me intimately and calls me by name. He knows all that is hard in my life and will be with me as I endure it, even if it means walking through fire.
Vaneetha Risner is the author of Walking Through Fire: A Memoir of Loss and Redemption in which she chronicles both her bewildering suffering and the breathtaking way Christ met her in it. She and her husband Joel live in Raleigh, NC where she blogs at www.vaneetha.com.
“The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deut 33:27)
As brutal as grief is, God gives us a soft landing. In the weeks and months (and years) following my husband’s sudden death, I could palpably feel God’s presence like no other time before. He held me in the palm of His strong hand — a hand that protected me, guided me, provided for our family and kept my foot from slipping. I found that in the most excruciating pain and loss, God tenderly and personally cares for us with hands that always carry us.
Lisa Appelo is a speaker, writer and Bible teacher who’s written at Proverbs 31 Ministries, (in)courage, Risen Motherhood and more. Find Biblically-based hope to begin to move forward through grief in the FREE guide: 7 Days of Hope for Your Shattered Heart.