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Grief

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:4

Grief is a very real response to the loss and pain that we experience, living life on this side of heaven. Feelings of distress, anguish, pain and even torment are normal responses to the emptiness and absence of loss. Loss comes in many shapes and sizes and can come when we least expect it and is very confronting, yet we know that it is a part of the reality of the broken world that we live in. There are many things that can be lost and while there are ‘stages of grief’ each person’s experience is unique. We may all think about grief when it comes to the loss of a loved one in death, but grief is also experienced in response to losses surrounding our own health or that of people we love, job loss and career changes, possessions and wealth, relationship breakups or breakdowns, prodigal children and much more.

We are not Alone

There is no formula for grief, we might observe common experiences or similar emotional journeys, but there is no prescriptive process, no steps that we should move through in order to heal from the loss we experience. Grieving is a deeply personal experience. Even when others around us experience the same losses, who we are and our own personal experiences mean that the way we move through that journey of grief is different.

In our grief we can feel so very alone, incredibly isolated and overwhelmed by everything that is happening. The unique journey that we are on can leave us feeling incredibly isolated by our grief as if no one understands what we are going through. One of the greatest comforts that we have during these times, even when we feel that people are so very far away, is that we have a Saviour who has experienced grief and sorrow.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has bourn our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted.

– Isaiah 53:3,4

Knowing that our Saviour has been intimately acquainted with grief and sorrow brings us incredible hope and comfort. Our God knows our pain. He knows the deep sorrow of loss and is intimately aware of the brokenness of this world. This comfort and security means that we can reach out to him, knowing that we are not alone but we have a loving God and faithful Saviour who has journeyed on this painful path before us. He experienced deep distress and isolation so that we would never again be isolated by God, he knows pain and grief because he took all that upon himself so that we continue to have relationship with God. We can find incredible comfort and security in the middle of our deepest pains and torment knowing that he loves us so deeply and is holding on to us through it all.

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?

– Psalm 56:8

Scripture has so much to say about loss and pain and what it looks like for us to turn to God for comfort in the middle of it all. In our distress it can seem that God is so very far away and that the hope and comfort that scripture promises is not ours because he seems so distant. As we move through this journey, there are so many different things that we can do in the strength of God and with the help of the people that he places around us to grow in knowing his comfort.

Weep with those who weep.

– Romans 12:15

Although the experience of grief may feel incredibly isolating, we are not alone. Not only do we have an incredibly loving God who is by our side the whole time, we also have the comfort of those in our church and community who are God’s gift and strength to see us through these hard times. Scripture calls the body of Christ to be united and to bear the burdens of those around us (Galatians 6:2). We may feel isolated but God has placed these people in our lives to help us see his grace when it might be cloudy and hard for us to see, he has blessed us with the presence of others so that they can carry us when everything us overwhelming. Our brothers and sisters in Christ are physical manifestations of God’s love in our lives.

Hold Fast to God’s Grace

As we continue to move along the journey of grief these are some things we can do to hold fast to God’s grace.

Meditate through the Psalms or a devotional book specifically on the topic of grief.

Find promises of comfort in scripture that you can hold fast to as you move through your day (e.g. God is always by your side).

Ask people around you to help you find those promises or to remind you of them, ask them to pray with you and for you.

Be honest about your grief. With yourself, with God, and with others. Remember there is no right or wrong way to grieve.

Pray. God hears all our pains. Pour out your heart to God even when we cannot find the words. You can also ask someone to pray with or for you.

Give yourself time, be compassionate and try not to feel pressured to move along the journey in any particular way.

The Lord is near the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18

GriefShare

The journey of grief can be long and hard. GriefShare is a universal resource that has been set up to support people who have lost a loved one. It is structured so that you meet together with others and support each other as you draw close to God along the journey of loss and pain. To find out more information you can visit www.griefshare.org.

Recommended Books and Resources

Grieving, Hope and Solace: When a loved one Dies in ChristAlbert Martin

What Grieving People wish you Knew about what Really Helps (and What Really Hurts)Nancy Guthrie

When Your Family’s Lost a Loved One: Finding hope togetherDavid and Nancy Guthrie

Grief: Walking with JesusBob Kellemen

Comfort Those Who Grieve: Ministering God's Grace in Times of LossPaul Tautges

A Small Book for the Hurting Heart: Meditations on Loss, Grief and HealingPaul Tautges

Grief: Finding Hope AgainPaul Tripp

Help! My Baby Has DiedReggie Weems

God's Healing For Life's Losses: How to find Hope when You're HurtingBob Kellemen

Holding on to Hope: A pathway through Suffering to the Heart of God Nancy Guthrie

Dark Clouds - Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of LamentMark Vroegop

Suffering Wisely and Well: the Grief of Job and the Grace of GodEric Ortlund

Grief Undone: A journey with God and CancerElizabeth W. D. Groves

Grieving a Suicide: Help for the AftershockDavid Powlison

Making sense of the suicide of a ChristianJeffrey Black

Life after the Suicide of a Loved OneJulie Gossack

*We have a selection of books in the Trellis Library that are available for loan. If you would like to borrow a book, please get in touch with us to find out if we have a copy available. 

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