Grief is one of the most difficult emotions for people to deal with, and Christians are no different. Loss brings Christians to their knees in agony just like everyone else. Some Christians even find themselves struggling with their faith in the aftermath of loss. They wonder how a loving and merciful God could take someone they love from them, especially when the person who died was a spouse, child or parent to young children. It does not seem just, merciful or loving, There is, however, a purpose to everything even if humans cannot always see that purpose.Knowing that there is a reason for everything is cold comfort to a father who mourns the loss of his daughter or a wife who grieves for her husband. It is in those times of pain and rage when God seems to have abandoned His believers that comfort can actually be found in the Scripture.
The writers of the Bible understood that death and grief ravages human hearts. In Biblical times, death was far more common than it is today. People died from disease, famine, war, murder and animal attacks with frightening regularity. Few infants survived their first year and fewer still reached adulthood. As such, there is little wonder that the Bible contains so many verses that address grief, loss and death. Many of these are still applicable today and can give those who are grieving some much needed comfort during their time of mourning. Here are six Bible verses for dealing with loss.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14“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.”
One of the hardest parts of dealing with death is the realization that the person who died is truly gone. Those left behind will never hear the dead person’s laugh or cry or speak to them again. 1 Thessalonians reminds Christians that this is not, strictly speaking true. It may take centuries, but eventually the dead will rise again. Those who were faithful in life will see their loved ones again when Jesus returns. Cliché as it is, Christians know it to be true: the dead are not really gone.
1 Corinthians 15:42-44“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”
In 1 Corinthians, Paul reminds the faithful that death is not the end. This life is imperfect and mortal. The next life is filled with God’s grace and will not end. The life of flesh will end eventually, and then the life of spirit will begin. What was pain will become glory. What was weakness will become power. The suffering of earthly life will be exchanged for life in the grace of God.
Revelation 14:13“Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.’
Throughout the Bible, the same refrain is repeated over and over: death is not the end. It is a break, a night’s sleep after a long day of work. The dead rest peacefully, and they will be reawakened one day. Until then, however, they sleep, tired from their earthly troubles. The dead lay down their burden and wait for the Lord to raise them. When He calls, they will rise, but for now, they rest with the knowledge that their suffering has ended.
Matthew 5:4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
The Bible has a great deal to say about what happens to the dead, but it does not discount the living who are left behind either. God knows that even for Christians who know that the dead will again rise, it is not easy to say goodbye to their loved ones. Knowing that mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, spouses, children or friends will be resurrected by the Lord eventually does not stop their loved ones from missing them now. Christ recognized this and said clearly that those who mourn will not be abandoned. They are not bad Christians for missing their loved ones. The Lord recognizes their loss and will comfort them.
Psalm 34:18“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”
Scripture makes it clear that God knows the pain humans are in when their loved ones die. He called the dead home for a reason, but He knows that those left behind may not understand His reasons or even recognize them. The Lord does not abandon those who are mourning. Instead, He stays close to them. He is there for those who need comforting after loss, and He remains close even when those left behind scream and rage.
Lamentations 3:31-11“For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.”
God does not forget those who are broken hearted. He knows that those who are left behind are in pain, and He will show them compassion. The Lord loves His people, and He knows that humans do not always understand why things must happen. That lack of understanding, however, does not keep God away from those who are grieving. Even though it may seem like God has abandoned those in mourning, He is still there. He does not abandon His people. They just cannot always see that He is there when they are grieving.
The Bible does not pretend that death does not occur or that it is not agonizing for those left behind. What Scripture does offer is comfort to the living by reiterating over and over that the dead are not gone forever. They merely sleep, and one day they will awaken. In the meantime, the Bible offers comfort to those left behind. It may seem like cold comfort at times, but the Scriptures repeat over and over that God is there for those who are mourning even if they do not realize it.