I lost a loved one. How can the Bible comfort me?
The loss of a loved one is among the most difficult situations a person can face. Yet God's Word does offer words of encouragement for those facing the grief associated with the loss of a loved one.
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We know that Jesus has experienced and understands what it means to lose a loved one. In John 11 Jesus wept at the death of His friend Lazarus. Isaiah 53:3 prophesied about Him that He is "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief."
God is the source of comfort during times of grief. Second Corinthians 7:6 notes, "God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us." Second Corinthians 1:3 says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort." Psalm 23:4 adds that God acts as a shepherd and comforts us: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." In Psalm 71:20-21 we read, "You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again."
God is the source of peace during grief. The Psalms offer many examples. Psalm 4:8 shares, "In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 85:8 adds, "Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints."
The peace of Christ transcends the pain of this life. In John 16:33 Jesus taught, "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." Ephesians 2:14 even teaches, "For he himself is our peace."
The loss of a loved one can be extremely difficult, but we also know that our grief is temporary, limited to this life. In heaven we will no longer experience the sadness associated with lost loved ones. Revelation 21:4 promises, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." In fact, for lost loved ones who are in heaven, we will only be separated from them for a short time. First Thessalonians 4:13-14 says, "But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep." All believers will worship together with the Lord in heaven for eternity. Our loss may be painful now, but it is temporary.
The important issue is to make certain you know Jesus as your Savior and that you share His love with others. For more information on knowing Jesus as your Savior, see "What is salvation?". First Peter 1:8-9 shares that the salvation of Jesus brings us joy: "Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls."
Loss and grief are part of life on this fallen earth. We trust in God's mighty power to redeem and restore, and in the meantime come to Him with the pain of our broken hearts. He is a gracious and loving Father, a God who has "kept count of my tossings; put my tears in [His] bottle" (Psalm 56:8). May He be your comfort during this difficult time.
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