Three ways to find God in grief

Lindsay Willett

What do you do when one of your closest friends dies unexpectedly at age 26? How do you deal with the pain of forcing yourself to say “She was...” instead of “She is...”? Where is God in grief?

On April 3, 2015, one of my best friends, Erica Geary, died in a car accident. I had never felt this kind of heartache before. Nothing felt familiar—including God.

The Bible says God is our comforter (Isaiah 66:13), but it sounded like a Christian cliché to me. Saying “He is my Comforter” would be admitting Erica is dead, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about God allowing that to happen. When my family tried to pray for me to have God’s comfort one evening, I stood up and left the room.

Yet God mercifully reached down to comfort me and met me where I was. I saw that the God who saved me, the God who gave me a friendship with Erica, is still God when I’m grieving.

Three Ways God Shows Up In Our Grief

1. In quiet expectation

The idea of quiet expectation came from two verses. Psalm 62:5 in the King James Version reads, “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.” And, in Romans 8:26, the apostle Paul says the Holy Spirit will help us pray when we aren’t sure what to say.

When my heart ached, and I couldn’t put prayers into words, I tried waiting in quiet expectation, expecting that somehow the loving God I knew would act in this unreal situation.

He has given me glimpses as I’ve waited. Someone at Erica’s funeral became a Christian. Friends of her family started asking about God. Erica was a Christian, and now people she knew are meeting and seeking God. Her death has not been wasted.

2. Through the support of Christian friends

Everyone needs time to mourn alone, but we also need each other. God promises, “For where two or three gather in My Name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20).

When I went to Bible study after Erica’s death, I just “happened” to be in a prayer group with someone who lost her sister, and someone who lost her best friend from college. They gave me tips about what to expect during grief, and through them, God showed me I could get through this!

3. When we invite Him into our pain

Isaiah 53:4 says about Jesus, "Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering.” Jesus didn’t only defeat death when He died on the cross; He defeated pain and suffering. Just as He gives Christians new life on this earth and forever in heaven, He bears our pain on this earth, before it will be gone fully in heaven.

To invite Jesus into your pain, when you are able, read your Bible, go to church or small group, pray, and quietly wait on Him. Don’t downplay God’s comfort as a cliché; ask Him to help you experience Him as God in the midst of your grief.

If you're struggling with grief, here are some resources that can help. We'd love to pray with you and support you during this time. Come to the Care Room on Sunday or email us at hello@newspring.cc 

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