He Holds Our Tears in Grief and Loss

Disoriented. Numb. Somber. There are few words to describe where my heart has been lately. I’ve found myself in a place of weariness where I’ve rarely been before. Maybe it’s a physical response of survival, or maybe it’s an escape mechanism. Either way, I’ve found myself detached, struggling to find my way out of the darkness and heaviness of grief. I have always been a fighter, for better or worse. But it’s a scary place when you feel your fight begin to fade.

As the losses continue to grow, grief has dulled the joys of life, robbed me of sleep, and caused my body to pay the price.

Our losses have come in many shapes and sizes. Some are larger (such as my health, our kids’ health, our son’s special needs, my degenerative ankle, and the death of loved ones). Others are smaller (such as a job, a comfortable bank account, the home we loved, and the family life we expected). 

But whatever the nature or intensity of loss may be, grief is never far behind. 

Where do we go from here? 

Let Yourself Grieve

When loss strikes, I tend to respond in one of two ways. I either stuff my emotions down, doing all I can to distract myself from reality, or I face the pain head on and let myself grieve what’s been lost. At face value, we see grief as a sign of weakness. I believe the contrary: that grief shows courage. It says, “This loss hurts and instead of running from it, I’m going to acknowledge it and grieve what I’ve lost.” 

In essence, our grief simply acknowledges that things aren’t as they should be.

So I can grieve the pain of my son’s challenges every time I’m faced with a fresh reminder of what’s been lost because of them. I can acknowledge my grief when I can’t run around with my kids, exercise, or do many of the activities I once enjoyed—in order to preserve my ability to walk as long as possible. I can grieve when we have to change plans yet again as my chronic illness flares up. And I can grieve when my children look up at me with tears and ask why they have to struggle when they just want to be “normal” like kids around them.

There’s no doubt these things are losses. They hurt. They remind me often that things aren’t as they should be. And they make me long for something more.

Have you ever felt that way? Are you hurting from the loss of someone close to you? Are you struggling with the loss of your health, a friendship, or a job? Or are you struggling with the loss of a dream or opportunity, grappling with the loss of the life you expected? 

If so, let yourself grieve. It’s right and good to acknowledge what’s been lost or what may never be. 

Grieve with Hope 

I admit, however, that simply acknowledging what’s been lost and letting myself feel the pain of it doesn’t actually bring me genuine comfort. It might help me process reality and give my body the ability to work through the shock, stress, anxiety, anger, and sorrow that often comes with these losses. If I have no hope beyond my grief, though, then it falls short of any real comfort. 

But grief doesn’t only acknowledge my pain; it’s meant to point me—and you—to something greater: a better world where pain, loss, heartache, and death will one day be no more. 

If this life is all there is, these painful losses are nothing more than pointless pain. But if there is a God who came to rescue us and bring us to a better home beyond this one, then these losses are only temporary. 

This is the hope you and I can have even as we grieve what we’ve lost. Only those who turn to Jesus for their hope will experience this peace. Thankfully, though, Jesus explained how and where this hope is found. 

As we read in the Bible, Jesus (who is the Son of God) said, 

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going. (John 14:1–4 NIV)

Jesus was talking here about heaven. This is not a boring place with floating angels in the clouds; it’s a new and perfect heaven and earth that will one day be a reality for all who put their trust in Jesus. This future home will be perfect, painless, and filled with more pleasures than you and I could ever imagine. More than anything, we will live and walk with God himself. 

Jesus also told us how we can have this hope. He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well” (John 14:6–7 NIV). The Bible is clear that all people are sinners, that is, we have all rejected God. As a result, we rightly deserve His punishment for our rebellion. But the incredible news is that we can be forgiven and accepted by God through trusting in His Son Jesus to save us from our sins and give us eternal life with Him. There is no other way in which we can be saved and enjoy eternity in heaven.

Does that mean we’ll no longer feel the pain of our losses in this world? No. Will we still grieve for now? Yes. But when we know that our suffering won’t last forever and that there’s something better beyond it, it gives us a reason to hope and persevere—even when it hurts. 

I am confident that my precious son will one day be freed from all that torments his mind and body, and that he will finally experience the joy of being made whole. Though the days are hard and the future is unknown, knowing that he will one day be healed gives me the comfort and strength to endure through these darkest times. It also gives me the privilege of pointing him to this hope as I experience it in my own life. 

Do you have this hope in your grief? If not, I encourage you—I implore you—not to wait to find it.

Bring your grief to the God who created you and loves you, and receive the hope and comfort He offers you through Jesus.

 

Don’t Grieve Alone 

When I’m hurting, it’s not easy to let others in. I rarely feel comfortable showing my vulnerability in front of others, especially when those around me seem to have it all together. Even though it can be good to let a few safe people into our grieving process, no one will ever fully know the depths of our sorrows—except God himself. 

And here’s the thing—we don’t have to grieve alone. There’s a God who feels our pain and grieves with us in it. He’s not far off or unable to comfort us and provide what we need; He’s a God of mercy and a perfect Father who promises to come near and comfort us in all our pain and suffering. 

Believe it or not, the Bible isn’t just a set of rules. It’s God’s life-giving words to us, which apply to all aspects of our life—including our losses and grief. One writer in the Bible shows us that we can cry out to God in raw honesty, saying, 

Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow, 
my soul and body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish 
and my years by groaning; 
my strength fails because of my affliction, 
and my bones grow weak. (Psalm 31:9–10 NIV)

I don’t know about you, but I can relate to those words. All throughout history, men and women who have believed the words of God have also known that they could be completely honest with Him, even in the messiness of their grief. 

In fact, the Bible even calls Jesus “a man of sorrows” (Isa. 53:3 ESV). He left the comforts of heaven to come to earth as a human, knowing that He would suffer pain, temptations, loss, fears, grief, and a horrific death on a cross. Because of His relentless love for us, Jesus died in our place, taking not only the punishment our sins against God deserve, but all of the griefs and sorrows we experience in this world as a result. Jesus knows what it’s like to carry a crushing weight that no one else can: 

But he was pierced for our transgressions, 
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, 
and by his wounds we are healed. (Isa. 53:5 NIV)

Jesus chose to come to earth. Being God, He could have avoided the pain of this world and left us to ourselves. But He chose not to do that. He chose to come to earth and experience all that we experience—including loss, sorrow, struggle, inconvenience, disappointment, pain, grief, and loneliness. He knows the full extent of our sorrows and can empathize with and comfort us as someone who’s experienced them Himself. Because Jesus knows what it’s like to be rejected, laughed at, and misunderstood, He can empathize with us in our loneliness. Because He experienced physical pain, He can comfort us in ours. Because He faced the loss of loved ones, friendships, comforts, a place to call home, and life itself, He can understand our losses more than anyone ever will. And because He shed His own tears, He feels the weight of ours. 

I’m so thankful that we don’t have to have it all together or walk through our grief alone. We can tell God our sorrows in honesty, and be comforted knowing that He’s been there. 

Grief That Won’t Be Wasted 

I admit, I’m grieving even as I write this. The painful losses of my life are far from over and I’m reminded daily of the grief that frequently comes as a result. Truthfully, if I didn’t have hope beyond these losses, I’m not sure if I could endure another day. 

But as I’ve grieved these losses, God has used them to show me that although they may be painful, they don’t have to be pointless. They can lead us to the comfort, truth, and hope that Jesus came to earth to give us. A hope that gives us not only strength and comfort today, but purpose and hope for the eternal home He is preparing for those who put their trust in Him. 

Friend, it’s okay to grieve your losses, but don’t grieve them alone. Come to Jesus, the Man of Sorrows. You can trust Him to not only forgive your sins, but to carry your griefs and give you hope in your losses.

With God, our tears do not fall unnoticed. He sees them, grieves them, and holds them as if they’re His own.

Editor’s Note: Today we’re happy to feature an article from guest writer Sarah Walton. The content has been lightly adapted from a chapter in her new book, Tears and Tossings: Hope for the Waves of Life, available for preorder now from 10ofthose.com or Amazon
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