Biblical View of Grief – Series Introduction
The Bible exhorts believers to have the mind of Christ on all things (Philippians 2:5), the subject of grief is not exempt. Many a well-meaning “psychologist” would refer you to this method or that self-help book. In Christ Jesus is found all the sufficiency a child of God needs to adequately cope with grief. To add anything to Christ is to diminish Who He is and His power to help.
The Biblical View of Grief
A quick word study reveals the Bible has much to say about grief or grieving. Some references speak of grieving over one’s own sin or the sins of another. That is not our focus here, though it would make a good and profitable study. The purpose of this series of articles is directed at circumstantial grief. That is, grief entered into your life without a known cause or brought on by unexpected events outside your control.
Job is the perfect example of a Biblical view of grief. Granted, it took him several chapters to get his thinking straight. As tragedy after tragedy entered Job’s life, we observe him turning to God during his darkest days. How could he handle such deep pain? He had walked with God in good times, thus he knew he could trust God in the bad times too. When you have tasted God’s goodness, swallowing the bitter pill of grief is made more palatable. “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.” (Psalm 34:8)
Experiencing the emotion of grief is not wrong or sinful. In fact, grief is designed by God as a natural emotion we feel. The act of grieving often helps bring about much-needed healing. The problem lies in being consumed by grief, by continuing to dwell in constant grief, by having a wrong response.
Having a Biblical view of grief means looking to the One Who can get you out of your grief. “But though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.” (Lamentations 3:32) God may bring you through a time of grief but He will not leave you there. He also will not leave you alone in your grieving. He is the ultimate Comforter.
Jesus Was Acquainted With Grief
Aside from our redemption, part of the reason Jesus became flesh was to relate to our weak humanity. He too experienced grief in order to share our infirmities, as a loving and understanding God. Isaiah 53:3 says grief was a familiar emotion to Him. He had a few grief-filled days while here on earth also. “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief…”
Why would He put Himself through such a gut-wrenching emotion? Read on in that chapter to see. “Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes, we are healed.” (verse 4-5)
Jesus acquainted Himself with grief on our behalf. He did it for us. He knew our grief would be too heavy for us to bear alone.
God’s Sovereignty Bears Our Grief
If grief is too big of an emotion for us to carry alone, then what are we to do? I love what the old preacher C.H. Spurgeon said about the grief associated with the painful circumstances of life. “When you go through a trial, the sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which you lay your head.”
God’s omniscience is what holds us afloat when we feel like we’re drowning in grief. There is nothing that enters our life, good or bad, that is not before ordained by God. Nothing takes Him by surprise. What rest and relief that thought can bring in the midst of grieving. His endless wisdom about the outcome of your life can be your haven. “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22)
The Purpose of Grief in a Christian’s Life
To be honest, we often never see the purpose of our trials this side of eternity. This ought not to keep us from having a Biblical view on grief. We can still experience spiritual growth closer to the Lord during these times. We sometimes witness how our trial helps us to relate with others that have similar circumstances. Other than those two reasons, the ways of God are hidden from us. As my pastor often says, “We are not called to be understanders, just followers, and just believers.”
Our only job is to take God at His Word that everything He does allow is for our best. Just as a seed’s greatest capacity only comes after it falls to the ground and dies, we too are promised results for our suffering. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” (John 12:24) No trial is purposeless. No suffering is pointless. No grief is without benefits. Someone once said, “Your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts.” How true, since those are the lessons that stick with us and are engraved on our memories.
Let God use your times of grief to assist others later down the road of life. Point them to a Biblical view of grief. Show them Who to turn to during their hard time. Though our circumstances that bring grief may vary, our Savior never changes.
Articles in the “Biblical View of Grief” Series:
Because grief is manifested differently for each of us, no two women are alike. The Submissive Spirit team has asked guest writers to contribute their journeys through grief and how they coped Biblically. During our study on dealing with grief with a Biblical mindset, look for these upcoming titles.
About the Author
Hannah and her husband Cameron are currently on deputation, raising support so they can begin full-time missionary work in Mongolia. She juggles the demands of traveling with those of a toddler and keeps a sweet spirit through it all. Hannah has authored two books in addition to her writing for the Submissive Spirit. She also blesses us with her beautiful voice.