Bible Verses on Loss to Help You Cope
Los Angeles Christian Counseling
Pain and loss. Grieving and trying to cope, trying to make sense of what feels senseless and clinging to hope when things seem darkest – when we meet loss, especially the loss of a loved one, we experience a lot of emotions as we try to understand what happened, why, and how we will heal and carry on.
Though people may go through stages of grief such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance, the grieving process is different for everyone. Things don’t always go in a straight line from denial towards acceptance, and sometimes setbacks happen. Our journey with grief is our own – we each cope with loss differently, and we must give ourselves room to work through that grief.
Bible Verses on LossIn all of this, the person of faith may want resources to help them with perspective during this time. The Bible speaks into our grief, recognizing the depth of despair while seeing the possibilities of new life and hope. Below are a few Bible verses on loss to help you as you go through your grieving process.
In the Psalms
The Psalms are prayers and songs that explore the entire range of human experiences and emotions. The writers of the Psalms experienced loss, too. Some of it was from disease; they also lost loved ones due to war or other forms of violence. From the depths of their despair, they expressed their fears and held out hope that God was with them even in those dark nights and valleys of the soul. They trusted that they were not alone, and God knew what they were going through.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – Psalm 73:26
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. – Psalm 147:3
In the Book of IsaiahWritten over six hundred years before the birth of Jesus, the book of Isaiah spoke to people who had undergone and were anticipating the trauma of being displaced from their homes through war. Rival nations such as the Babylonians were laying siege to Jerusalem, and in war, there are always casualties – in this case, not only the loss of loved ones but also being displaced from their homes and the communities they were rooted in.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous hand right hand. – Isaiah 41:10
In the Gospels
In Jesus, God came into the world to walk among us as one of us. The shortest verse in the Bible says “Jesus wept” when his friend Lazarus died (John 11:35). Jesus experienced sorrow, and it reminds us that God knows exactly what we go through when we experience loss. Being reminded of this is an encouragement that when we go to God with our pain, God knows what we are going through, and the comfort he gives us is real.
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.’ – Matthew 5:1-4
Through Jesus, death doesn’t have the last word:
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this? – John 11:25-26
When our hearts are anxious in the face of loss, Jesus reminds us:
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? – John 14:1-2
In the lettersWhen we have questions, it’s good to have people we can turn to who can offer us guidance. The early Christians had many questions about the suffering they endured. Sometimes they or their loved ones were arrested, beaten, or killed for being Christians. What does our hope for a life beyond this one mean, and can that hope sustain us here and now, helping us to make sense of what often seems senseless?
The letters of the New Testament were written to Christians to answer these and many other questions. In their grief, they needed reassurances and an anchor to keep them grounded during tempestuous times. They needed a bigger perspective to help them deal with their daily difficulties of simply trying to cope. They needed hope.
Paul reminds us that though things may seem random, and we struggle to see God’s hand at work:
…we know that in all things God works for the good of all who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28
Later in that same chapter, Paul encourages them:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39
Death will not have the final word over God’s creation. Just as Jesus was raised from the dead, so too will his people be raised from the dead, and the creation itself released from its bondage to decay. Our bodies as they are now, are frail and death can break them. However, that won’t be the case forever.
We shall be given new bodies that death cannot destroy. The chapter goes on:
So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; and it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. – 1 Corinthians 15:42-44
For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” – 1 Corinthians 15:53-55
To give us perspective and lighten our burdens:
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
So that we wouldn’t grieve for loved ones without hope:
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
Our ultimate horizon and hope are the new world God will bring about. That world is like our own, but also unlike anything we’ve ever seen or experienced. We will be raised from the dead, and with the world renewed:
God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. – Revelation 21:4
God sees our tears and the pain behind them. He is comforting us here and now in the middle of our loss, but he promises us that one day, in the new world, he will meet us in our places of brokenness and heal us, wiping away every tear from our eyes. We have a living hope, and we can get up and face the pain of today knowing that tomorrow things are going to, somehow, by God’s grace, be okay.
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