What can hurt even more than the initial grief is when the people around us begin to feel that we’ve been grieving too long. The seven stages of grief 1) pain and guilt, 2) anger and bargaining, 3) depression, 4) shock and denial (in which you’re in a state of disbelief and numbed feelings), 5) the upward turn, 6) reconstruction and working through, and finally 7) acceptance and hope don’t always progress in a linear manner.
9 Bible Verses about Grief
Yes, grief is a process, and it’s healthy to not remain in one place for too long, but it is often unpredictable, and sometimes gains are reversed. In our seasons of grief, the Bible gives us the wisdom to enlighten us, along with words to comfort and encourage us. We grieve over different situations, and the Bible addresses many of these occasions. Here are nine Bible verses about grief to help you cope.
A time for everything
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:1-4
These verses are a reminder to us that in life we will go through a variety of circumstances. No one season, whether good or bad, lasts forever. When you’re going through good times, such a reminder sobers us to the reality that in our lives, and the lives of others, grief is a present or future possibility. If we are in a season of grief, this is a reminder that now may be a time to weep, but this too will not stay the case forever. A time to laugh shall come our way, in due season.
Resting in God while grieving
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. – Psalm 18:2
We need a place we can turn to when we are going through the dark valleys of our souls. Having hidden in literal caves to escape death from King Saul, David knew the value of having a good, safe hiding place. For David, God was his refuge that was entirely trustworthy and reliable in all circumstances.
God is familiar with our heart’s inmost cries. Our feelings of fear, anger, frustration, and everything else are safe in his hands. A similar scripture is another of David’s prayers in Psalm 9:9, which says “The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”
God is near
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18
Not only is God a safe place for us to bring our feelings of confusion, hurt, and anger while we grieve, but this Psalm reminds us that God is near to those who are brokenhearted. For someone who is grieving, the thought of going through it all alone, without support, or without someone who can stand beside them and tell them that they are not alone, only adds to the burden of grief.
God, through his Holy Spirit, “comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (1 Corinthians 1:4). Not only is God comforting us through our own challenges, but he provides us with wisdom to comfort others when they go through tough times.
Weep with those who weep
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. – Romans 12:15
Not only is God with his people when they go through times of grief, but his people, too, are called to weep with those who are weeping. The community of God’s people is often the very means by which God ministers his comfort and peace to the brokenhearted. We ought to stand together as a community in our times of joy and in our times of sorrow.
Grief is hard
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and body also, – Psalm 31:9
Grieving is hard on the body and the soul. It’s not surprising for people who are grieving to lose weight, become lethargic, and lack the motivation to do the things that used to excite them. Food no longer seems as appetizing, and life loses the vibrant color it once possessed. It’s important to try and maintain your health even in this season of grief.
When the prophet Elijah went through a rough season, the regimen that the Lord put him through was simple, but effective – sleep, wake up and eat, sleep again – rinse and repeat. Getting good rest and making sure you’re well-nourished are important steps to take under normal circumstances, and all the more so when grieving.
Jesus has borne our griefs
Surely, he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. – Isaiah 53:4
Jesus understood what it meant to bear sorrows. He felt betrayal from his friends (and the humans that he created), his friend Lazarus died, and he was grieved by what human rebellion had done to the world. He knows intimately what it is like to be human, except he did not sin (Hebrews 4:15). But he also took upon himself our sorrows and the weight of our brokenness.
Do not grieve as unbelievers do
But we do not want you to be uninformed about believers who have died so that you will not grieve like people who have no hope. – 1 Thessalonians 4:13
The loss of a loved one is one event that can threaten to destroy our hope. But we are reminded that we are a people who have hope – the hope of being with God after death, and hope of resurrection into a new life and new bodies (1 Corinthians 15). Our loved ones who died and knew the Lord are with the Lord.
So, when we grieve, our grief is different because we know they are with the Lord, which is better by far (Philippians 1:23). We shall meet them again. We grieve, but it is not without hope.
If our loved ones did not know the Lord, we continue to entrust them and ourselves into the Lord’s hands, praying as Abraham did, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” (Genesis 18:25). Our grief is anchored in hope.
Our grief shall turn to joy
Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy… Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. – John 16:20,22
The night when he was arrested, Jesus spent time with his closest followers. He wanted to assure them that even though a really difficult time lay ahead with his arrest and brutal death at the hands of the Romans, their grief was not going to be permanent.
Death was not the end for Jesus. He was raised from death, and that has continued to give shape to Christian hope. Though we go through difficult seasons, if God could turn a tragedy such as Jesus’ death into a victory, then what else in our lives may bring us sorrow now, but we will overcome it?
Ultimately, as we’ll see in the last verse, all our griefs will turn to joy. Grief, loss, and death will not have the final say.
No more death or mourning
He will wipe away 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. – Revelation 21:4
At the end of all things, God will make things right. When you’re going through a dark tunnel, having some light with you makes all the difference in the world. In our present moments of crying, pain, and mourning, it is some comfort for us to know that this present world and way of things shall come to pass, and EVERY tear will be wiped from our eyes. This present darkness will not last forever, no matter how deep and unrelenting it may seem. Death has been defeated.
“Death is swallowed up in victory”. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” – 1 Corinthians 15:54-55
Christian Grief Counseling
If you’re looking for additional help and support beyond these Bible verses about grief, I invite you to schedule an appointment for grief counseling with me or one of the other counselors in our online counselor directory. We would be honored to walk with you through your grief journey to a place of healing and hope.
“Burning Candles”, Courtesy of Mesh, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Grief”, Courtesy of Milada Vigerova, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Tree-lined Lane”, Courtesy of Cristina Gottardi, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “New Life”, Courtesy of Jeremy Bishop, Unsplash.com; CC0 License