The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Suffering and grief have been a part of the world since the first time humanity turned away from God. No one has ever lived a grief-free life, and now perhaps more than most of us have ever seen in our lifetimes, we’ve seen grief on a global level. People are grieving the loss of loved ones having died from the virus or other causes, unable to say goodbye in the usual way because of the necessary restrictions. People are grieving the loss of employment and the affect that has on themselves and their families. People are grieving the loss of human contact, unable to embrace the people they love and find the comfort they need.
One of the most amazing things is that God is not untouched by our grief and suffering. He is not some distant, unfeeling entity who made us and then sat back and watched the world unfold like some cosmic experiment. Our God is Love—our very existence is an overflow of His love. And this means He cares about our grief and grieves with us. Even on those occasions when our suffering comes as a result of our own actions, He still says, “I weep for you… My heart laments…” (Jer. 48:32. 36).
We see this love God has for us in our grief captured in one of the most powerful, poignant verses in Scripture that also happens to be the shortest: “Jesus wept.”
Jesus knew what it was to grieve. Standing at Lazarus’ graveside, surrounded by the grief of His friends, He felt their pain—it was His pain too; it was His own friend who lay dead in the tomb. This was not how He had meant the world to be, and He let Himself grieve with the others.
Isn’t this amazing? Jesus knew what He would shortly do: He would raise Lazarus to life again, a foretaste of what we will all experience when Christ comes to earth again to reign. But He still wept.
Several of our partners care for children who have experienced grief at a young age. Many of the children in Palakonda, India share that they get sad when they think about their parents who they’ve lost. Kiara (name changed) lost her father to a fever in 2013 and her mother then left her and her siblings. She says that when she gets sad thinking about her parents, she lets herself cry for a while and then feels able to carry on.
If you’re in the midst of grief and suffering at the moment, know this: The Lord grieves with you. You’re not left alone in your grief. When you don’t know what to pray, it’s ok; the Spirit Himself intercedes on your behalf with sighs too deep for words (Rom. 8:26).
And God has given us the gift of each other, our brothers and sisters in Christ, to be His hands and feet, offering us the comfort we need—the voice on the end of the phone, the homemade cake left on our doorstep, the messages of comfort and encouragement.
In our grief, let us take comfort from God’s Spirit with us, from the love of our family and friends, and from the sure hope we have that God is making all things new—He will wipe every tear from our eyes, and mourning and death will be gone for good, just as He promised (Rev. 21:4-5).