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How to See God in Your Grief

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  • Updated May 12, 2016

When a loved one dies, the question on many of our lips is “Why?” 

When a baby doesn’t live to see his first birthday, we want to know why. When a teen dies just before her high school graduation, we want to know why. When a surgery fails to fix what is wrong in a senior’s aging body, we want to know why. 

Why? Why does this happen? 

Christians and non-Christians both ask this question, whether they speak it aloud, or silently wonder in their mind. Christians are likely asking this question of God. But who are non-Christians addressing if they don’t believe in God?

In the Gospel Coalition blog “Why Grief is Evidence for God,” Sharon Dirckx writes that humans’ natural reaction to grieve over death is proof that God exists. She demonstrates this with their points: 

1. We express our grief to God.

“Why? is the question so often on our lips amid tragedy. But this question raises another: whom are you addressing? If God doesn’t exist, there is no one to ask. I believe we instinctively ask Why? because God does exist, and he hears our cries,” Dirckx writes. 

We see this happening many times in the Bible. Mourners express their grief to God who brings comfort, even when they do not understand their circumstances. 

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). 

2. We don’t grieve alone. 

We are not alone in our grief. Dirckx writes that we grieve as God grieves. 

“When Jesus experienced the death of his close friend Lazarus, he wept (John 11:34). On the cross, Jesus took grief and loss to unfathomable depths, such that the forsakenness he endured caused him to cry out the Why? question of Psalm 22

“God isn’t immune or indifferent to grief; he’s experienced it at the deepest level possible.”

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2).

3. There’s hope beyond the grave. 

The Bible is filled with stories of overcoming the grave to live in eternal life in heaven. Most notably is Jesus Christ’s story of dying on the cross for sinners and rising three days later (John 19, Luke 24). 

“If God doesn’t exist, this is the only life we get. Death marks the end, and the loss is permanent. But if he does, then death doesn’t have the last word. Jesus has defeated it. And one day, he will remove it entirely,” Dirckx writes. 

“He is not here; he has risen!” (Luke 24:6)

Grief is not only proof of God’s existence, but of His love for us. contributor Whitney Hopler writes, grief can even be considered a gift. 

“Grief, it turns out, is a gift. Yes, it’s one that we would all like to return if we could. But if we’re willing to open this gift that God gives us when our loved ones pass away, we’ll discover that it contains blessings in disguise.”

“Grief encourages us to rely on God’s strength by bringing us to the end of our own strength… It’s only through God’s strength that we can overcome the challenges grief brings into our lives.”

Carrie Dedrick is the Family Editor for

Publication date: May 12, 2016