by Rick Warren — January 31, 2023
From Living in the Goodness of God
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed.”
Psalm 34:18 (NCV)
Everyone will experience loss. And you don’t just “get over” a loss. You can’t go under it; you can’t go around it. You’ve got to go through the grief. If you’re scared to express emotion and refuse to go through it, that’s where you get stuck.
You get unstuck by letting God help you. Here are six ways he does that:
1. God draws you close to himself.
Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed” (NCV). When you grieve, God may seem a million miles away. But what you feel and what is real are not always the same thing. In fact, God has never been any closer to you than when you are grieving.
2. God grieves with you.
The Bible says Jesus was “a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief” (Isaiah 53:3 NLT). When you come to Jesus with your grief, he understands your pain. God is a suffering God, and he is a sympathetic God. He’s not aloof or apathetic.
3. God gives you a church family for support.
We’re meant to grieve and heal in community through our church family. We’re better together!
“In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others . . . Be devoted to one another in love . . . Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:5, 10, 15 NIV).
4. God uses grief to help you grow.
God uses grief and even pain to help you become more like Christ, and he does it in three ways. First, God uses pain to get your attention. The Bible says, “My brothers and sisters, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure” (James 1:2–3 GNB).
Second, he brings good out of bad (Romans 8:28), and third, he prepares you for eternity (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
5. God gives you the hope of heaven.
If you believe in and trust Jesus Christ for salvation, then you will spend eternity in heaven with God—and that hope will sustain you through your time of loss. The Bible says, “We don’t want you to be ignorant about those who have died. We don’t want you to grieve like other people who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 GW).
6. God uses your pain to help others.
This is called redemptive pain, and it is the highest and best use of your pain. “[God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT).