Grief is a universal experience. Every person will encounter its darkness at some point in their lives. The rough waters of grief are unforgivingly harsh and demanding. Its current carries you away to uncharted waters. Life is no longer the same. You feel lost and confused. You feel trapped by the waves of sorrow and depression. You feel drowned by fear and anxiety.
Maybe grief’s coldness has shocked and numbed your system. Perhaps you are angry with God for allowing this traumatic loss to happen to you. As you navigate grief, I want to encourage you to connect to the heart of God. He wants to minister to you.
Comforting Verses for Grief and Loss
I hope these verses bring you some peace and comfort as you journey through pain and heartbreak.
1. Lean in
The disciple that Jesus dearly loved was at the right of him at the table and was leaning his head on Jesus. – John 13:23
When it comes to emotional pain, it is human instinct to self-protect. The wound is raw, tender and throbbing. You close off. You muster up some strength and try to hold yourself together. Pushing the pain away is how you survive the agony of each day.
You don’t want to let it out. It would be too messy. Too excruciating. You can feel the emotional wreckage start to pile up inside. The feelings you suppress are wreaking havoc inside of you, causing you to spiral further and further into a pit.
Let me propose something to you. What if pain could be a key to the throne room of God? What if you could use your grief to press in deeper into His affection? What if you allowed yourself to release and be honest with Him?
Come to His table. Bring your anguish, chaos, confusion, and lean into Jesus. He has no expectations of you. Just be you. He has prepared a table for you for such a time as this. He has made provision for this moment right now. Let his affection be a healing balm for your soul.
2. He Values Every Tear
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.– Psalm 56:8
Tears become a regular occurrence in grief. And just when you think you are done sobbing, you get hit with another wave. Why would God keep track of your sadness and gather your tears? I believe this verse is a depiction of intimacy. What would it take for someone to notice every single tear? Proximity. Presence. Undivided attention.
God has synchronized His heart with yours. He gets you. He understands the gravity of this loss for you. God sees the damage and He has never left your side. He grieves with you. You have His attention. He does not miss one tear. He treasures you.
3. He is in Your Depths of Despair
Where can I go from your Spirit? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; If I make my bed in the depths, you are there. – Psalm 139:7-8
Ever feel like you are sinking so deep into emotional and mental torment that you feel like you are nowhere to be found, even by God? Or if God did notice you, He would be unwilling to go there? Grief steers us to dark valleys.
I veered off course and felt like I couldn’t get back on track. Wave after wave kept pushing me farther and farther away out to a sea of hopelessness. No matter how hard I strived to swim grief’s waters, I couldn’t get back to shore.
I felt like God abandoned me. I reasoned, surely God was angry with me for succumbing to fear and doubt. Why would He come to this miserable and desolate place?
Then in my pit of grief, Psalm 139 became alive. My soul was pierced when I heard “Your Heart Won’t Stop” by John Mark McMillan. This song captures the heart of God. God was not waiting for me to climb out of my depths. He was right there with me.
God is a lover. He never stops his pursuit of you. What would it mean for you if the one you loved followed you to your darkest place? What if God wasn’t put off by your humanity but embraced you at your worst time?
4. He Fights on Your Behalf
I cried out to you in my distress, the delivering God, and from your temple-throne, you heard my troubled cry. My sobs came right into your heart and you turned your face to rescue me.
The earth itself shivered and shook. It reeled and rocked before him. As the mountains trembled, they melted away! For his anger was kindled, burning on my behalf. – Psalm 18:6-7
God can feel callous and distant when we suffer. You may feel bitter or unforgiving towards Him because it felt as though He stood back and watched this injustice befall you. How do you handle the tension between God’s promises and despairing circumstances?
Give yourself permission to wrestle with questions of faith. Face issues of distrust. As you grapple with unanswered prayers, meditate upon God’s response to David’s misery in Psalm 18. These verses reveal God is anything but unresponsive and unfeeling.
What captured my attention is God’s anger on behalf of David. We often think of anger as a “negative” emotion. However, consider how it can be a sign of love. God is not a passive father. He is full of passion and is enraged when His children are harmed.
May these verses remind you that God fights on your behalf even though it might not feel like it. Read Psalm 18 in its entirety. Reflect upon how God’s reckless love is manifested towards David and imagine God reacting the same way to you.
5. He Freely Gives Rest
Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear. – Matthew 11:28-30
Grief is heavy and exhausting. Is it possible to find rest during emotional, physical, spiritual, or mental suffering? The idea sounds paradoxical, but Jesus beckons us to come rest with Him. His rest is a standing invitation.
God highly appraises rest. He rested on the 7th day of creation and included Sabbath rest in the ten commandments. Psalm 23:2 states, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.”
God knows we are better able to receive Him in a restful state. Rest doesn’t simply mean taking a nap, although sometimes that is exactly what we need! Rest is more of a posture and a state of mind. It’s about being present with God. Rest requires surrendering and letting go which is not an easy task for some of us who like control.
If you find yourself resisting or having trouble calming yourself down, it’s okay. It takes practice and willingness to quiet your entire being so your spirit can receive. Know that God desires to refresh you in this weary season. Receive His refilling of peace.
6. Nothing is Wasted
You have freed me when I was hemmed in and enlarged me when I was in distress… – Psalm 4:1
Pain has a way of making us nearsighted. We cannot imagine anything beyond it. We stop dreaming. In Psalm 4:1, David testifies that God brought increase out of his distress. Translated in a different way “enlarged” means, “you created room for me.”
How many of us feel confined by pain? David is suggesting that pain doesn’t have to reduce you, but can expand you. God can turn what was meant to destroy you into something that brings freedom and blessing. Wow, doesn’t that sound impossible? God is the composer of our life song and somehow, He orchestrates all our circumstances into a melody that sings of His goodness.
So, when you feel squeezed by grief and feel like you have nothing left, remember God is working behind the scenes composing something beautiful. God’s ability to transform suffering into strength is truly astounding. By no means does this justify the injustice. But maybe this verse can stir up hope of what could be at the end of a dark tunnel.
Whether you have experienced an illness, miscarriage, divorce, job loss, or death of a loved one, I hope these verses lifted your spirits. Know that Jesus receives you in your grief. I pray you are overwhelmed with His kindness. He is turning the tide and providing a way out of the darkness.
You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness, you follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With your hand of love upon my life, you impart a blessing to me. – Psalm 139:5
“Lighthouse,” courtesy of Juan Gomez, unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Hope,” courtesy of Sandeep Pawar, Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY 2.0); “Woman in a Grotto,” courtesy of skeeze, pixabay.com CC0 Public Domain License; “Sunrise in Hawk cliff, Killiney, Co. Dublin, Ireland,” courtesy of Giuseppe Milo, Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY 2.0)