Updated: Feb 1, 2021
The most common cause of grief is losing a loved one. One minute, life is full and satisfying and complete; the next, it is swept away, and a human heart shatters into pieces of devastation and sadness. Whether the loss is a spouse or parent or child or pet, our soul plummets into a deep hole of grief.
The Lord sees that descent of soul; in fact, Psalm 34:18 says, The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. He comes very near to us when death takes a loved one, and as dark and cold as it feels, our heart can be lifted by the supernatural comfort of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, in John 14:16, And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter.
When we incur deep loss, if we allow the Holy Spirit to help us, we find that He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3). A literal translation of that verse, according to the Hebrew meaning of the words, would be: He heals the heart that has burst into pieces and stops the pain. He stops the pain that is paralyzing us and making us retreat from family, friends, and life.
Job’s three “friends,” Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, tried to comfort him when he had lost everything, including his health. They sat in silence with him for seven days. Job 2:13 tells us, Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words. Silent friends are comforting when we are grieving. They strengthen us in our bewildered state.
If only Job’s friends had remained silent. They did not. They began analyzing and criticizing Job, as he sat in their midst a broken, crushed man. The account in Job 4-23 is a crash course in What Not to Do with a Grieving Friend. The Chatty Cathies of the world have little comfort to offer to the grieving soul. And they are not grieving God’s way.
The Lord sent us a Comforter. What is that? Webster’s dictionary defines comforter as “HOLY SPIRIT”—one who gives comfort. “Comfort” is strengthening aid; consolation in time of trouble or worry; a feeling of relief or encouragement. That is how we share in grief, God’s way. Quietly, silently, recognizing that sometimes a person’s suffering (like Job’s) is too great for words.
The love of God is communicated so beautifully in sitting alongside a grieving person and saying few, if any words. The Holy Spirit supernaturally imparts peace and comfort, hope and strength. Learning to grieve God’s way requires us to rely on the Holy Spirit, our Great Comforter. No one comforts better than He does.
© 2020, Chris Werre