Death is a part of life that all of humanity will face. Since the beginning, people have experienced the fluctuation of life and death, joy and grief. The transition from this life hastens sorrow that impacts loved ones, whether family or friend. Sometimes, we know death is nearing but, with others, losses are sudden. Whatever the circumstance, the actual passing introduces a range and intensity of emotion that we don’t always foresee.It can be hard to find the words to express the depth and expanse of our grief. Those of us who believe in Christ can take comfort in being loved and consoled by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus promised to send Him to help, instruct, guide, and walk alongside us. Even when we are unable to speak or pray, the Holy Spirit interprets our groanings before the Father, making sense of what we can’t utter. Our tears are captured and preserved in a bottle, commemorating how precious we and our feelings are to the Lord (Psalm 56:8).
Everyone experiences the process of mourning differently, but we find common comfort in Scriptures for comfort. God’s Word is both lamp and light in the darkness of sorrow to illuminate our present position and guide us along our path (Psalm 119:105).
Scriptures for comfort.
As we experience various stages of grief, the Holy Spirit will envelop us and infuse our healing with His abiding presence. The Bible offers numerous Scriptures for comfort that will soothe our wounded places. We can meditate on the following Scriptures for comfort and hope amid mourning’s shadow.
It may not surprise us how tenderly the Lord regards us, but the fact that He does, deepens our humility and our worshipful response to Him, even amidst death. Between the Old and the New Testaments, we see that God meets His beloved in brokenness.
Hundreds of years before the Messiah’s birth, the prophet Isaiah portrayed Christ as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. As the Wonderful Counselor, Jesus has encountered deep pain and isolation, equipping Him to identify with our human experience. Although we may not understand the nature of our loss or our process, God sees and knows what we need in the throes of anguish and agony.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. – Isaiah 53:3, ESV
God feels.Our Savior understands what it is to be human. He is familiar with and sensitive to what we feel, having endured these things Himself during His life and in ministry on earth. As our High Priest, we can bring all of our thoughts and feelings of denial, anger, and despair to Him without fear. Nothing is off-limits. He beckons us to come confidently in our current state, no matter how bleak. He responds with mercy and grace in our most desperate moments.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:15-16, NIV
Amid our mourning, God encounters us in the darkness. He draws us to Him, covering and comforting us much like a mother hen gathers her chicks (Luke 13:34). Although it is an agricultural example that Scripture provides, it illustrates how close He holds us to His bosom, close to His Heart.
As El-Shaddai, our all-sufficient God, He nurses us to life in the wake of death. Where grief clouds our days and threatens to overshadow us in despair, God reveals Himself through the process of building and restoring the irreparable.
“I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden wealth of secret places, So that you may know that it is I, The Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name. – Isaiah 45:3, NASB
While we might not perceive good to emerge from a loved one’s passing, Jesus Himself offered hope during loss. Using the example of grain, He encouraged his followers in advance of His crucifixion.
Through the burial or planting of one kernel, many more seeds would spring to life, producing a crop (John 12:24). No one can trivialize the loss of our family members or friends with well-meaning, though insufficient platitudes. However, we take comfort and courage in God who works to bring a harvest of singing and rejoicing beyond the realm of present tears.
Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. – Psalms 126:5-6, NIV
God gives hope.While we are in the throes of grief, all seems dark. The process can feel lonely and tiresome, and others who have been walking with us may not understand the nature or the time associated with our grieving process. We may feel hopeless as if we will always be sad, depressed, or longing for our loved one or what we once called normal.
However, the Psalmist references the night as a time to mourn. While we don’t know how long a midnight season of grief will last, we simply have to walk through our process with God from midnight to morning.
Morning represents joy. The dawning of a new day brings with it new mercies and hopes for a fresh start. Despite our challenges, we can cling to the Lord’s constant companionship. Like the grain that descends into the earth, He creates something substantive in places where we cannot see. While we may not be able to envision the joy that is coming, He heals in the dark, turning mourning into dancing.
For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning. – Psalms 30:5, NASB
In our places of sorrow, God brings joy. Out of loss, He multiplies. When we are weary, He refreshes. That doesn’t mean that life will return to what it was before the loss. The Lord doesn’t cause our grief but will use it to transform and restore us to better than we could imagine.
Jesus quoted a passage from Isaiah during His first visit to the temple at the time of His public ministry. He announced that He came to bind the wounds of the brokenhearted and to offer comfort to the mourning, providing the oil of joy in its place. The collection of verses in this section underscores that our God does not leave us in our pain.
God uses the most excruciating experiences that all of humanity endures to bring about His purposes for good into the lives of His beloved (Romans 8:28). While death is part of our lives in this fallen, imperfect world, the hope of the believer is anchored in the promise of all things becoming new in Christ.Jesus, as our risen King, has already secured victory over death, the last enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26). Our anticipation of newness does not eclipse the meaning of our loved one’s life. Instead, we look to the Holy Spirit to console us now and to the Person of Jesus Christ who will one day wipe the tears from every eye (Revelation 21:4).
Jesus will restore those who have trusted Him as Savior. While we are experiencing our midnight, we hold the anticipation of His promise for a new name, body, and home in Heaven, where we will live with Him eternally (Revelation 2:17; 1 Corinthians 15:42-58).
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. – Isaiah 61:1-3, NIV
While you may be walking through a season that you never imagined, confronting a set of circumstances that seem surreal, be open to receive the Lord’s comfort. Permit yourself to feel all that you are feeling in this time of mourning. As you do, recognize that God is ever present with you as your refuge and strength (Psalm 46:1).
He is the Wonderful Counselor, but He has also guided you to this site where you can encounter others to support you as you navigate the ebb and flow of grief (Isaiah 9:6). He will remain with you, accompanying you through the valley of the shadow of death, even as you walk in process, from midnight until your morning (Psalm 23:4).
A counselor can be a helpful companion on this journey. Connect with one of the counselors in our office today.
“Tough Times”, Courtesy of Ben White, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Group Prayer”, Courtesy of The Good Funeral Guide, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Open Bible”, Courtesy of Kelly Sikkema, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Stained Glass”, Courtesy of Mateus Campos Felipe, Unsplash.com, CC0 License
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