Anyone who has ever loved someone or something knows that love is one of the greatest joys in life. This is true despite the fact that, in choosing to love, you tacitly accept that at some point you will suffer the loss of that love.
Going through such a loss can usher in a crushing sense of sorrow as you endure the stages of grief that wash over you.
But you don’t have to experience that grief alone. God offers to walk with you during your grieving.
Starting in Genesis and continuing throughout the Bible, God promises to be with us (Genesis 28:15). God’s promise took human form when He sent down Jesus Christ to be the final, perfect sacrifice so that the faithful might have eternal life.
Even after Jesus physically left us by ascending into Heaven, God remained with us by sending us another advocate in the third person of the Trinity — the Holy Spirit. The Lord gave us the Holy Spirit to comfort us by guiding us toward truth, peace, and joy (John 14:16-17,27; 15:11).
Whether you’re in the beginning stages of the grieving process or have walked hand-in-hand with grief for some time, here are five Bible verses to encourage you in your darkest hour.
1. An Encouraging Verse for the Brokenhearted
The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:2-3).
There’s no way around it, everyone eventually experiences the grief that comes with a broken heart. You may have recently suffered a heartbreak over the loss of a romance or a dear friendship, after experiencing a major life disappointment, or enduring the death of a loved one.
The pain of that heartbreak may nudge you into thinking that the best remedy is to start living a walled existence, refusing to become emotionally invested ever again so as to avoid the risk of another painful letdown.
However, this type of detached living does nothing to heal our wounds, and it runs counter to the Christian principles of faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Instead, when the grip of a broken heart takes a hold of you, rely on God’s promise that He’ll gather His children back into His arms and heal their brokenness until they’re made whole again.
2. An Encouraging Verse for Those Suffering from Depression
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand (Psalm 40:1-3).
One all-too-common stage of grief is depression. Depression can be all-consuming and make you feel like you’re wading through a marshland of constant regret and sorrow.
When depression strikes as a result of grief, you can turn your cries to God instead of carrying the weight of your sadness alone.
When we place our depression at the foot of the Cross and pray for His assistance, He promises to guide us toward stability and free us from despair.
This healing from depression is rooted in forgiveness — forgiveness of ourselves and of others on our journey out of the “mud and mire” and towards “a firm place to stand.”
Healing our wounds and the wounds of others requires our active involvement. Through prayer and petitioning God for help, we can walk towards restoration and wellness.
3. An Encouraging Verse for the Ill or Injured
Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise (Jeremiah 17:14).
There is nothing people learn to treasure more once it’s gone than their health. When sickness or injury descends upon you, you’re faced with the stark limitations of human effort and, instead, must rely on God’s mercy.
Perhaps the most difficult part of praying for physical healing is waiting for the pain to end or, worse, accepting that the affliction may end in death.
But God never promised us that our life would be rosy and carefree. Instead, He warns us that grief is a part of our existence and that there will be a time to weep (Ecclesiastes 3:4).
When we feel our faith being tested, it’s wise to remember that we’re to “sow in tears” so that we may “reap in joy” (Psalm 126:5).
The importance of sowing seeds of faith despite your tears is that you strengthen your devotion to God by seeking His face and drawing closer to His presence, instead of focusing on seeking His hands through the change you hope He brings about in your life.
When you continue to seek God and know His Word, you’ll be rewarded by God’s assurance that, ultimately, there will come a time when there will be no more “mourning, or crying, or pain” (Revelation 21:4).
4. An Encouraging Verse for the Lonely
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land (Psalm 68:5-6).
The Father Almighty is the great “I Am” (Exodus 3:13-15). In biblical times, a person’s name was significant and often indicated the person’s character or purpose. The great “I Am” is not only the eternal God, but He is also the God who becomes everything we need.
For the fatherless, He is the father. For the widows, He is the protector. For the lonely, He is the provider who sends families to save the lonely from their solitude.
The “families” that God sends to the lonely may look like a restored relationship with estranged relatives. Or it may look like the blessing of supportive, loyal friends who become like “family.”
The “family” that saves you from your solitude may also take the form of a welcoming church community. Whatever “family” God sends you to save you from your loneliness, it’s up to you to nurture those relationships as godsends.
5. An Encouraging Verse for Those Who Mourn
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
There have been so many reasons to mourn lately. You may be in mourning for the sick or the deceased, for the consequences of sin, or for the injustices you see around you or in the world at large.
Or you may be grief-stricken that someone you love has rejected God or refused to repent even at the hour of his or her death.
Whether you’re grieving the loss of another living being, or you’re mourning the harm your past sins have caused, or you love the world enough to mourn the brutalities occurring daily throughout the globe, you realize the importance of repentance and following Christ’s example of loving our fellow man.
Those who mourn out of love hold a special place in God’s heart as His only Son knew grief and mourned humanity’s state unto death (Isaiah 53:3-4; John 11:35). God promises to comfort those who mourn by deeming them “blessed” (Matthew 5:4).
The Greek word for “blessed” refers to someone made happy by receiving God’s favor, which, in this context, is the type of comfort from mourning only the Almighty Father can provide.
Grief can take an unpredictable course in your life, lessening and intensifying depending on the ebb and flow of your circumstances, the time of year, or the reminders you may come across of your lost love.
While the way that people process grief varies immensely, what never varies is God’s desire to comfort us in our grief and, if we let Him, heal us of our anguish.
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Dolores Smyth is a nationally published faith and parenting writer. She draws inspiration for her writing from everyday life. Connect with her over Twitter @byDoloresSmyth.