On February 18th, my whole world changed. My hero dad closed his eyes to this world and opened them to heaven.
I had no idea grief felt so much like fatigue. I didn’t know it would make me feel hollow. My brain knew what death was, but my heart was unaware that death was such a tearing—and an emptying.
Even though it’s been a few weeks, I am still stupefied by the fog I am walking through. It just feels thick and like life should be in slow motion. For a long time, I’ve known the truth about God’s comfort in grief, but I now understand it.
You see, if there was anything I feared—I mean was really afraid of—it was losing my dad. He was my hero. He grounded me, protected me, and made my world make sense. The thought of losing him made me fear how I could ever feel like planet earth would ever—could ever—be okay again.
I feared I would fall under the weight of grief. I feared I could never feel comfort greater than my sorrow. I feared that Dad’s absence in my life would be a hole I would fall into and never find a way out of.
Yet, I realize now that if I had really understood the comfort God would give me, I would have had no fear. His comfort doesn’t erase my grief, it absorbs it. His comfort doesn’t make my sorrow lessen, but it makes my capacity to face it greater.
We all experience loss in this life. In fact, what I’m sharing may be old news to you because you have endured great loss and sorrow and grief. But, just in case you need a reminder of how He comforts us—or you fear losing one you love like I did—let me share with you the two ways God has been and is comforting me.
1. God’s Word comforts us
The promises in Scripture, the counsel of Scripture, and the unchanging truth of Scripture brought and continues to bring me such deep comfort.
These verses from Psalm 119 are just some of the truths I’ve been holding closely:
“This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life” (Psalm 119:50).
“Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant” (Psalm 119:76).
“My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your Word” (Psalm 119:28).
My friend, no matter how depleting your sorrow is, His Word can give you strength. The promise that comes from God’s living Word can comfort you, and provide you with the hope that life is and will be good again.
His Word echoes His love to you in even your lowest season. And this love lifts you and assures you and reminds you that He is with you. So, if you are grieving, open His Word and open your heart. His love and strength will rush in and be the comfort you need.
2. God’s people comfort us
I used to think that old phrase, “There’s strength in numbers,” meant that where there were lots of folks with you, you became a mighty force; you could be stronger together. But now, I think of that phrase totally differently—and here’s why.
One morning, between Dad’s passing and the memorial service, I sat in his recliner, spent and sad. I had nothing left. I felt hollow and worn out with grief. It was then that my brother and his family walked through the front door. Something in me stirred.
Another few minutes passed and my other brother and his wife arrived. Again, something rose within me. They didn’t carry pom poms or give pep talks. They were just present. And, when they showed up, so did some strength and comfort.
There is strength in numbers because when others join you in your grief, you become stronger. You have the strength to face your sorrow because you don’t face it alone. You have the strength to carry your burden because you don’t carry it alone.
God’s people don’t bring comfort by the words they say about grief, but by their very presence in your grief. The word “comfort” comes from two Latin words meaning “with” and “strong.” In other words, you and I are made strong by being with each other.
My friend, God uses His people to take all the weak and broken pieces of our sorrow and build us up into a fortress of strength once again.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
So, sweet sister, if you are in a season of grief, lean on His Word and His people. You will receive comfort greater than your sorrow.
And, if you know someone who grieves, pray Scripture over them and, most of all, be there. Your presence will bring them strength and comfort.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we have received from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
This post originally appeared on JenniferRothschild.com and was republished with permission.
Jennifer Rothschild has written 14 books, including the bestseller Lessons I Learned in the Dark and Me, Myself, and Lies. She’s been featured on Good Morning America and Dr. Phil and is the founder of Fresh Grounded Faith events. Jennifer became blind at age 15 and now helps others live beyond limits.