How Can I Find Relief From Grief?
Inspirational podcasts, videos and stories to help you deal with life’s challenges and losses using biblical principles.
Table of Contents
Loss brings grief. Everyone hurts when they suffer loss and many losses are met with grief. A loss may be public, such as a school shooting or natural disaster, and the trauma is out in the open for all to see. It may be a private, invisible loss, such as infertility and the loss of the dream of motherhood. For many of us bereavement acts like a disease. Its symptoms can be deep and debilitating, and its cycle is repetitive and exhausting. Grief stinks and yet is an important and even healthy part of our coping with our traumatic personal losses. So, how do we go about finding the healing part? How do we know what to hang on to, what to let go of and when any of this should happen? We want to approach this topic, like everything we do, in a biblical and practical way.
What Is Grief?
Grief is the natural response we have to loss. The more significant the loss, the more deeply we feel the pain and suffering of having the thing or person we loved taken away from us. The loss may be immensely significant, like the death of a child. Other losses can cause us to grieve as well: divorce, losing your job, death of a pet, miscarriage, retirement, losing a friend, or even moving to a new city. Whatever the loss you are experiencing, it is personal to you and your pain is nothing to be ashamed of.
What happens as we grieve? The experience of grief is unique for each individual and it isn’t always a linear process, but many people experience the “five stages of grief.”
Recognizing and acknowledging the stages of grief
Denial – This is a natural defense mechanism that helps us deal with trauma gradually. “I don’t believe it. This can’t be happening to me.” Denial helps us pace our feelings of grief.
Anger – We feel anger at the injustice of our pain and loss. “Who is to blame for this? Why is this happening?” We can use scriptural principles to combat anger and blaming.
Bargaining – We want to find a way take back control of the situation. “Promise this will never happen to me again, and I will do _________.” We must allow His spirit to manage our anger and do the bargaining for us.
Depression – Once we begin to feel depressed, we have to a degree already accepted much of our trauma and are now faced with carrying its weight. “I’m too sad to do anything.” Go to God in prayer and look for faith strengthening aspects of your life.
Acceptance – Acceptance provides all of the necessary strength to carry whatever we need to carry. “I am at peace with what happened.”
Using Faith to Find Your Way Through Grief
Our faith in Jesus can help us find healing as we experience the grieving process.
Luke 4:17-21: (NASB) (Jesus in the synagogue in Nazareth)
And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. And he opened the book and found the place where it was written, The spirit of the LORD is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD.
Set free is to release from bondage. Oppressed means to be crushed. When we think of grief, we think of the bondage of being crushed by a loss. Jesus is essentially saying, “I came for YOU and I understand what you are going through.”
While it is encouraging to know that Jesus did come to relieve our suffering, we also know that this relief will not come miraculously. Jesus helps us through it.
LESSON #1: ALLOW YOURSELF TO GRIEVE
Cry and allow yourself to feel sadness, anger, confusion — whatever emotion you are feeling. Give voice to those feelings and share them with others. Carrying a “secret loss” is only as secret as you let it be, says Becca in her story about the experiences of infertility. Don’t worry about trying to “make everything okay” for yourselves or others during this time.
The first stages of grief are about denial, disbelief, betrayal, confusion and then more intense emotions of anger and sadness. Sometimes we are just not ready to see the reality and mercy of God’s long-term plans, but you can hold onto your hope in God.
Anger is an especially difficult stage to work through. Listen to “What Are We So Angry About?” to learn more.
Psalms 43:2-5: (KJV) For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
LESSON #2: THE CYCLE OF EMOTIONS & TRUST
Many people experience a cycle of emotions between anger, denial, regret, sadness. Sometimes you may go through that cycle multiple times a day. Where once you may have felt confident and strong, now you feel like your life is out of control. This is a moment to experience humility, let go, and trust that God will take care of you. It is difficult work to let go and trust in the midst of uncertainty.
Because God is MY God, He is everlastingly worthy of complete trust:
Isaiah 26:3-4: (NASB) The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.
LESSON #3: FOCUS ON YOUR BLESSINGS
Those who have experienced tremendous grief and loss will tell you that they felt like they had to make a choice and to believe that things would get better. The women in our stories above both shared about making deliberate choices to focus on their blessings and to believe that God has a plan for their lives. Chase’s mom shared this about her marriage: “I knew that this experience could either break us apart or make us stronger. We made a choice to have it make us stronger.” Becca shared how prayer, her mental attitude, resetting her expectations, and trusting in God has helped her to accept her losses.
Because God is MY God, I have good reason to choose to refocus my thoughts higher.
Romans 12:12-13: (NASB) Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
LESSON #4: COMPASSION & SUPPORT FOR OTHERS
After experiencing a devastating hurt, you may become more aware of others’ suffering. Our grief can help us turn to others for support, and then become a support for others who are in a similar situation. Chase’s mom shared that “a silver lining in sorrow’s dark cloud is that God can use our experiences to reach out to others with compassion and comfort.” Becca told us that her experience with loss and healing “has changed my entire life and purpose. It has made my life full. If my experience could help someone else, that would be one of the greatest blessings of my life.”
Listen: Is there any hope left?
Because God is MY God, I am privileged to see with HIS light through MY darkness:
Psalms 18:28-29: (NASB) For You light my lamp; the LORD my God illumines my darkness. For by You I can run upon a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall.
Because God is MY God, I know where I can look to find real, powerful and healing help:
Psalms 121:1-3: (NASB) I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; he who keeps you will not slumber.
Because God is MY God, He is present in our troubles which makes them into providences:
Psalms 46:1-2: (NASB) God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea.
You can find your way through grief. Have faith in God, work at it and find support and grow, and always have hope.
Do you have a specific question about grief? Submit your question here and our team will respond.