Over the holidays, many of us will struggle with losses from the past year. Here are passages of Scripture to ease your way through grief.
Posted in , Nov 19, 2020
Have you suffered a loss in this last year? Do we not all feel a sense of loss as we’ve struggled to deal with this pandemic? For me, in particular, with my mom’s death this past January, I feel a double dose of grief. Some of these passages of Scripture have helped see me through.
1) Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)
My mom died at a ripe old age, 93, after a few days in the hospital. She went so fast it took all of us by surprise. When my brother showed up at her bedside, she asked, “What are you doing here, Howard?” “I’m here to see you,” he said. “I’m just dying,” she said.
She knew, just as much as Jesus knows. Dying is a part of life. So is God’s comfort.
2) The Lord is near to the broken-hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
One of the ironies of sadness and suffering is that it can bring us closer to God. Think of that first Christmas and who God brought that good news to. Not the rich and well-fed but the shepherds out in their field looking over their flock by night. “Be not afraid,” the angel said.
Be not afraid. Now and always.
3) I consider that the sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.(Romans 8:18)
On that last day of my mom’s life—when none of us knew that it would be her last day—a minister from her church came and read a passage of Scripture, and we prayed together by her hospital bed. Then she said to me very quietly, “I will be in the Lord’s house soon.”
She was in a lot of pain and discomfort. We were scheduled to have a meeting with hospice care to discuss palliative relief. Anything that could help. Apparently, those prayers and Bible verses mattered as much as anything a medical professional could do.
4) “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you…Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”(John 14:27-28)
One way to deal with grief is to adopt a characteristic of the deceased. Take on one of their virtues. For my mother it was that habit she had of always looking on the bright side of things. Her relentless positivity.
She would laugh as she said things like, “I felt fine until I turned ninety” or quote that old adage, “Old age is not for sissies.” Then she would attack the morning’s crossword puzzle, congratulating herself for every clue she got right. Dare I point out that right next to her bed was a copy of Daily Guideposts? A positive companion.
5) He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouts of joy. (Job 8:21)
Laugh now? Yes, even now. When I get together with my siblings—on the phone, on Zoom, in person—we love to tell stories about Mom that make us laugh.
She used to tell us, as kids, “It’s a good thing that none of you are too good-looking because that way you develop your personality.” I was about 50 when I looked at a picture of us as kids. What was she saying? We were great-looking! In the meanwhile, as we liked to tease Mom, “We’re still developing our personalities!” She would laugh with us.
6) Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. (Psalm 100:1)
This is a season of music. Christmas carols start flashing all over the airwaves. That used to irritate me. Hearing a carol in a department store in November. “It’s not Christmas yet!” I would exclaim.
This year I would beg to differ. Don’t we need a little Christmas right now? You’re grieving? Listen to some music. Listen to some carols. Hum along to yourself (no group singing right now). It’s a way to get in touch with emotions that are deeper than any words.