The Uniqueness of Grief

The Uniqueness of Grief May 24, 2021

The experience of loss is unique to each person – the sadness, numbness, shock, confusion, anger, exhaustion all hit us differently. But no matter how you experience grief, Jesus comes and meets you at your point of need.

That’s what He did when Lazarus’ sisters were grieving the death of their brother.

In John chapter 11, Jesus meets the two grieving sisters, Mary and Martha. If you read closely, they both came to Him with the same cry, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21, 32). However, Jesus’ response to each of them is different.

Jesus Meets You Where You Are

With Martha, Jesus replied by giving her hope-filled truth, saying, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (John 11:25–26). Jesus pointed her to the truth of who He is. He gave her hope – there is life beyond the grave through faith in Him.

With Mary, however, Jesus responded differently. Mary came to Jesus and said exactly what her sister said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:32). The Bible says that Jesus “saw her weeping” and that “he was deeply moved in spirit.” (John 11:34). Then, in the shortest verse in the entire Bible, it simply says, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).

Jesus saw her tears. It moved Him emotionally. And so, He wept. Even though, in just a few minutes, He was about to perform one of His greatest miracles – raising Lazarus from the dead – Jesus still took the time to notice Mary’s grief and weep with her.

What a compassionate Savior! And the wonderful news is – Jesus does the same for us today. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Jesus & Your Grief

Jesus reaches us at our point of need. He ministers to us personally, meeting our unique needs. If you have difficult questions, He will listen and guide you to the hope and truth of God’s Word. If you simply need to weep in God’s presence, the Lord will be with you and carry your burden.

In your grief, what do you need today? Maybe, like Martha, you need to be reminded of God’s promises – to be grounded in His truth. Perhaps you need to reflect on one of the following passages from God’s Word:

  • “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. … Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”(Psalm 23:4, 6 ESV)
  • “You have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.”(Psalm 31:7 NLT) 
  • “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

     (Psalm 34:18) 

  • “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”(2 Corinthians 12:9) 
  • “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away”(Revelation 21:4).

Or maybe, like Mary, you need to weep. You need God’s presence and the compassionate, listening ear of Jesus, who is “a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief” (Isaiah 53:3 NLT). Perhaps you need to share memories of your loved one and cry out to God. If that’s you, then pour your heart out to Him. The Lord hears you. He listens. He cares about your loss and your tears. He’s your refuge in your grief.

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”
(Psalm 62:8)

You Don’t Grieve Alone

If you need help processing grief or want to help others in grief – especially dealing with the losses and challenges related to the pandemic – consider joining a grief or loss support group at a local church or counseling center. Many are provided for free and can be found online.

Friend, we do not grieve alone or without hope. We have God’s Word to keep us grounded and give us hope. We also have God’s presence and the support of His people to comfort us. Through His Word, His Spirit, and His people – the Lord bears our burden of grief and walks with us each day.

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” (Psalm 68:19)

Post by Dustin Anderson. Dustin is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary (ThM) and the Lead Writer at Hope for the Heart – a worldwide biblical caregiving, coaching, and counseling ministry. More tips and resources for dealing with grief will be shared at its upcoming webinar “Grief & Loss: Coping Day-to-Day in our COVID World” on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

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