God’s Healing Balm in Times of Grief
By Maria Fontaine
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Dear one, my heart breaks with you whose heart is broken during your time of grief. My eyes weep for you who weep. My heart aches for you in your time of loss. At times like these, sometimes all we can do is cry out to Jesus for His comfort in our pain, and for strength to go on another day. I pray that even in your sorrow you can know His peace. It is so very hard when we lose someone who was dear on Earth to us. I have experienced this too, and I know what it feels like to suddenly realize that things are never going to be the same again.
Sometimes we don’t get a chance to say goodbye to our loved one, or to ask forgiveness for the ways that we may have failed them. We yearn for one more chance to put our arms around them and assure them of how much we love them and how much they meant to us. We may feel condemnation or remorse when we lose a loved one or wish that we had done things differently or better, and it is at such times that we need to receive the Lord’s abundant supply of grace in time of need, His peace that passes all understanding, His strength to go on, and trust for brighter days.
The most important thing we can do in times of grief and loss is turn to Jesus and His Word for comfort. We can also pray for those experiencing these times and seek His comfort for them. We can pray that in spite of the loss, in spite of the tears and the heartache, in spite of the questions, they will experience His peace and love.
The most important thing to remember in times of grief is that the Lord loves you. No matter how painful the loss, the confusion, and the heartbreak, you must hold on to the knowledge that He loves you. His love is unending, unfailing, unchanging.
No matter what happens in this life, no matter how dark it looks, no matter how difficult the battle, no matter how dark the tunnel, no matter how long the suffering, Jesus loves you! He gives you His overwhelming love. He doesn’t give His love stingily, He doesn’t mete it out a little bit here or a little bit there as you earn it, and then stops pouring out His love if you are not good enough or you make mistakes or you’re not prayerful or not dedicated enough. The Lord always pours His love forth freely and abundantly! He never, ever stops pouring forth His love. He never turns His back. He never closes His eyes or His ears to your cries and your needs.
When you feel the most desperate and you feel the situation is the darkest, when you feel the most confused and you hardly even know how to pray, the Lord will pour forth His love even more abundantly, not less. The Bible says that the Spirit will intercede on our behalf in these times with “groans too deep for words” (Romans 8:26–27). Not only that, but Jesus Himself is also interceding for us (Romans 8:34)!
He wants to wash away the pain and to wipe away the tears and to comfort your broken heart. But the only thing that can heal your heart is your faith and trust in the Lord’s love, and your knowledge from years of experience that He has never failed you, that He does all things well (Mark 7:37), and that all things really do work together for good to them that love Him (Romans 8:28)—and you do love Him.
So no matter how hard it is to go through these times of grief and loss, you can know that even this will work together for good. Rest in the assurance that Jesus loves you very much and that He hasn’t abandoned you in your time of grief. Even when you can’t feel or see His love, by faith you can know that He is with you and hold on to His promises.
Your faith in His love is the only thing that is strong enough to quench these fires of sorrow. Right now you may feel that this loss is some kind of sign of God’s displeasure, or you may be filled with remorse for the things left undone or the words left unspoken. In this life, you won’t be able to tell your loved one all the things that you wish you had told them, or kiss them and hug them or spend more time with them as you may wish you had.
But you don’t need to worry about all the things that you weren’t able to do, or your failures and how you fell short. We don’t have to pay any penance for our failures and mistakes and shortcomings and the things we wished we had done better or differently. We don’t have to suffer; we don’t have to endure condemnation or remorse and regrets. We can find the peace of the Lord in His forgiveness and love and in His promise that He works all things together for good for those who love Him. “Death is swallowed up in victory!” (1 Corinthians 15:54).
When we are overwhelmed with feelings of guilt or condemnation, it keeps us from dwelling on the good memories of sweet times and blessings! When we look back at the past, we can become overwhelmed with sorrow for our failures, but when we refuse to dwell on the past, but instead focus our attention on the present and the bright future to come, we can feel the assurance of Jesus’ love. Our loved ones would want us to continue on in our lives by faith, looking toward the bright future!
His Word tells us that “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1–2). What a beautiful promise!
The past is over, it’s done, and we’re forgiven, and we must not concentrate on it if we are to continue onward by faith. Our failures are blotted out, and our loved ones who are now in heaven have forgiven us for any failures. They understand. Thankfully, this separation will not be for long; it will be only a “moment,” and then we will be reunited forever, nevermore to be separated or to feel such loss and pain!
But in spite of our pain right now, we are so blessed, because we have hope and knowledge of heaven and the Lord! So while our loss is great and our grief is deep, it is small compared to the loss of those who do not know Jesus. They have no lasting consolation or comfort. They feel they have no hope of seeing their loved ones again and being reunited. But we have been blessed with the truth of the Bible, and we do not “grieve as those who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). This separation is only for a time, and then our pain and our tears will be forgotten.
Thank You, precious Jesus, our wonderful Savior and Shepherd, for Your promises of comfort that we need so desperately and appreciate so very much. You are our “refuge and strength and very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Thank You for giving us hope for the future, strength to carry on during times of grief and loss, and the confidence to know that our loved ones are safe in Your arms. Help us to trust in Your precious promises and look to the future in faith, knowing that You will fill all the empties, as You have promised in Your Word.
Originally published July 1995. Adapted and republished September 2023. Read by Debra Lee.
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