After my mom died, one of her fellow cancer patients approached me. “Your mom was so kind to me," she said, sobbing. “I’m sorry she died . . . instead of me.”
“My mom loved you,” I said. “We prayed God would let you see your boys grow up.” Holding her hands, I wept with her and asked God to help her grieve peacefully. I also thanked Him for her remission that allowed her to continue loving her husband and two growing children.
The Bible reveals the complexity of grief when Job lost almost everything, including all his children. Job grieved and “fell to the ground in worship” (Job 1:20). With a heartbreaking and hopeful act of surrender and expression of gratitude, he declared, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (v. 21). While Job would struggle mightily later through his grieving and God’s rebuilding of his life, in this moment he accepted and even rejoiced in His authority over the good and bad situations.
God understands the many ways we process and struggle with emotions. He invites us to grieve with honesty and vulnerability. Even when sorrow seems endless and unbearable, God affirms that He hasn’t and won’t change. With this promise, He comforts us and empowers us to be grateful for His presence.