Here are 8 scriptures for surviving the holidays while grieving:
1. Isaiah 26:3 - "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you."
God knows we lack peace when we’ve lost our loved ones. When Jesus visited his friends Mary and Martha, He was full of compassion. Jesus knew He would be calling Lazarus from the tomb and yet, Jesus wept (John 11:35). He saw His friends hurting and was there in the grief with them. God can give us peace, unlike anything the world can offer. It’s a peace that washes over us, letting us know things are going to be okay even though we hurt intensely when we lose our loved one. God is available night or day. And when we think about Him or the truths that He gives us in His Word, the Holy Spirit gives us calmness. We learn we can trust God with each day we face because we can call on our Father.
2. Philippians 4:7 - "And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
God understands how we feel when we lose our loved ones. He doesn’t tell us, “Get over it,” “Move on,” “Look at all you have.” Instead, in the quiet, we can sense God’s presence, the one who promised us He’d be with us. We know that no matter how we feel, we are not alone. And our very pain reminds us this world is not all there is. Yes, we have said goodbye to our loved ones, but one day we will see them again. For those of us who didn’t get the chance to be with our loved ones when they died, to hold their hand, or see them take their final breath, God knows that hurt as well. My sister was a victim of domestic violence. One day as I was driving home from a homicide grief group, thoughts of what her last moments could have been tormented me. I pulled my car to the side of the road and cried out to God, screaming because of the pain as I hit my steering wheel. God whispered something which quieted my restless heart. He said, “Anne, I was with her.”
Instead of feeling angry that God didn’t stop another person’s actions, I knew God gave us all free will. We enjoy having free will for ourselves, but none of us like it when the choices of others hurt the ones we love. I believe when my sister Peggy took her last breath, God carried her to heaven. After all, God was there when she took her first breath, I’m sure He was there when she took her last. God loves our loved ones more than we ever could. And God knows the number of our days.
3. Psalm 139:16 - "Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
Even when our loved one’s death surprises us, it doesn’t surprise God. God knew all the days that are ordained for each person. God knew I would have two children on earth and that I would lose two babies that I’ll meet in heaven. Just as God knew my granddaughter, Livie, who was born with Trisomy 18, would not die at birth, as doctors said. He knew she would be here for 14 1/2 months. A time we relished as we held her, and loved her. Olivia’s life touched thousands who prayed for her. You can watch Olivia's Story. Nathan and Heather were encouraged by hospice to document her life because Olivia was terminal. God who created every living being knew all of this. Each life is valuable to him, even tiny sparrows.
To read the article, 8 Scriptures for Surviving the Holidays While Grieving, by Anne Peterson, in full, please click here.
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Originally published Thursday, 15 December 2022.