Finding Support and Comfort from Bible Verses About Grief
There are a few things that are always common to all people, and experiencing grief is one of them. In life, we lose loved ones, and our hearts are broken in many ways, whether it be through divorce, death, or distance that we struggle to overcome to maintain our connection with others.
The very thing that allows us to be fully human – our capacity for relationship – leaves us vulnerable to the losses that are a part of life as we know it. There are many bible verses about grief that can help.
Bible Verses About Grief
When we go through those difficult seasons, we don’t have to do so alone. Because grief is such an ingrained part of human existence, God has given us wisdom, guidance, and comfort so that we can navigate our grief without it swallowing us whole.
There are many Bible verses about grief – the Bible has many stories where people just like us experience loss and grief. It also tells what they learned about God and themselves, giving us direction by showing us how and from where they drew strength to carry on. We too can lean on that strength when we go through our moments and seasons of grief.
Grief is a natural response to loss
All of us grieve, and we should grieve when we experience loss, especially the loss that results from death because death is an enemy. Death is such a prevalent part of life, but every time it happens, no matter the circumstances, it still hurts and feels unnatural. This deep-seated feeling is well justified because the world God created was never meant to have death in it.
Death is an intruder, and an enemy and the apostle Paul says as much in 1 Corinthians 15:26 when he writes that “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” That death is an enemy and not the way things are supposed to be can be seen in Jesus’ response to his friend Lazarus dying.
Among other bible verses about grief, we find the shortest verse in the Bible: John 11:35 “Jesus wept.” The passage even says that Jesus was angry, and he wept. This is the creator witnessing the ravages of death upon his creation, and his response is grief.
Grief is a process
The Bible also reminds us that grief is a process. One of the places where this comes out is in the Psalms, a book of prayers and songs that expresses the whole gamut of human emotions in response to the things people experience every day. Psalm 22 is a Psalm about betrayal and abandonment amid distress, and Jesus Christ himself quoted it when he was hanging on the cross, dying.Verses 1-2 read:
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.
The despondency and sense of abandonment are palpable, and we can relate to it in our own grief. Later in the same Psalm, verse 16 displays some salty language toward the people that are treating the psalmist poorly and causing him distress, when it says:
Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet.
These don’t seem like words that should be coming out of a believer’s mouth, but whatever else they are, they are honest words directed to God that express depth of feeling and bitterness. The psalmist, while feeling deeply and being free to express himself in this way, doesn’t dwell here permanently, though.
Further on in verses 22 -24 the psalmist has an epiphany, changes gear, and writes,
I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among your assembled people. You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.
While it comes to us as one Psalm, we can see the different emotions and phases the person went through to arrive at this place of praise after having felt abandoned and ignored by God. Friend, your journey in grief may find you right now in a place of pain, or anger, or despondency and disbelief. That’s okay. Grief is a process, and that process was initially described by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross as five stages, and then later expanded to detail seven stages, which are:
- Shock and denial. This is a state of disbelief and numbed feelings.
- Pain and guilt.
- Anger and bargaining.
- The upward turn.
- Reconstruction and working through.
- Acceptance and hope.
These stages of grief aren’t a linear progression. Sometimes in our grief we find ourselves dwelling in verse 22, and then the next day we see a picture, hear a sound, or catch a whiff of a scent and we find ourselves feeling the old familiar feelings of verses 1 and 2 again. Give yourself the room you need to work through your grief and the various emotions it brings up.
Grief doesn’t have to be endured alone
In many ways, grieving is a lonely experience because other people can’t feel what you feel. But grieving alone can be hard. You don’t have to mourn by yourself, though. In another group of Bible verses about grief, Job and his friends give us a picture of what it looks like to have people come alongside you in your grief.
When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.
When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was – Job 2:11-13
This picture of solidarity with others as they mourn is echoed in the New Testament when Paul writes in Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” The community of God’s people can come alongside you to mourn and support you.
Not only that, but God himself is our comforter, as 2 Corinthians 1:3- 4 reminds us when it says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
You don’t have to grieve alone – you can seek help and support in your grieving from counselors, spiritual advisors, and loved ones.
Grief doesn’t have the last word
Grief may seem to linger but one of the things believers cling to is the hope that grief doesn’t have the final say. Beyond the cross and devastation of death, there is an empty tomb, and Jesus’ death and resurrection point to the reality of this hope that death isn’t the final word. Consider the following Bible verses about grief:
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
There is hope in the direst circumstances of loss and pain, and there is hope even beyond the grave. God can do the impossible.Isaiah in a beautiful passage that is echoed in the last book of the Bible wrote:
“See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.
“Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
“No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands. They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them.
“Before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the Lord. – Isaiah 65:17-25
To this, the book of Revelation adds in chapter 21:1-4:
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘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.”
Death is an enemy that God will destroy, along with everything else that brings distress to humanity. As we look forward to this future in which our tears will be wiped away, we can draw on that hope to face our challenges today. If you’re looking for support beyond these Bible verses about grief, do not hesitate to reach out to someone such as a grief counselor for help. You don’t have to struggle alone.
“Woman with Coffee”, Courtesy of Clementina Toso, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Dewdrop”, Courtesy of Aaron Burden, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Candle”, Courtesy of Jessica Delp, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Man on the Beach”, Courtesy of Caleb Santos, Unsplash.com, CC0 License