Grief and God’s Word
Rachel Goldman lost her husband Bruce in January of 2012. They had been childhood sweethearts. They married in their teens and were together for nearly 60 years.
Rachel and Bruce grew up in Ninety-Six. After they were married, they moved to California and lived there for over 50 years. They moved to Greenwood to be close to Rachel’s mother whose health was failing. Their plan was to move closer to their daughter eventually. Bruce died before they were able to implement their plan.
I had a conversation with Rachel recently. When you listen to Rachel talk, you do not hear the voice of a woman who is overcome with grief. She misses Bruce tremendously, but she has not allowed her loneliness to defeat her. Instead of giving in to her situation, she has turned to a powerful source of comfort. She has turned to the Word of God.
I asked Rachel for a list of Scriptures that have helped her. Rather than just giving me a list, she wrote a letter describing her struggle. The following is the majority of her letter:
“When the Lord took Bruce home to live with Him, I immersed myself in the Word of God for comfort, encouragement, and direction to learn how to live without Bruce.
Some of my favorite Scriptures help me get through each day one moment at a time. I personalized the Word and 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 became very real to me. ‘Blessed be the God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts me in all my affliction, so that I may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which I myself am comforted by God.’
The Lord not only used that verse to comfort me, but He gave me an opportunity to share it with another woman who lost her husband about 6 weeks after Bruce died. I heard that she was having a hard time coping with her husband’s death. I went to the funeral even though I was not acquainted with the wife or the husband. I began to pray for her and to look for an opportunity to minister to her. One day, she called me and said that another friend had told her that I might be able to help her. We have become good friends and the Lord is doing a great work in her. We are able to help each other because we know the pain that the other is experiencing.
Isaiah 46:4 is a valuable promise – “I will be your God throughout your lifetime—
until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” I know that I can lean on Jesus and that He is all I need. He is the very breath I breathe and it is in Him that I live and move and exist (Acts 17:28). The Lord cares about my mourning and He promised in Matthew 5:4 that He would comfort me (“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”). My sad heart is being healed every day as I lean on Him.
Some other Scriptures that have comforted me include:
Isaiah 26:3 (Amplified Version) – “You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.”
Ephesians 2:14 – “For He Himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility.”
Psalm 34:18 – “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
The Lord knew how crushed I was. He promised, however, that He would never leave or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). I want to lean on Him rather than on my fleshly understanding of what is happening in my life. I want to acknowledge Him in all my ways so that He may direct my path (Proverbs 3:5-6) now that Bruce is gone.
In addition to the Word, I have found songs that minister to me as well. I’ve lost my choir voice, but I sing sings like the gospel hymn, “Does Jesus Care?” to the Lord. One of the stanzas contains the words,
“Does Jesus care when I’ve said good-bye to the dearest on earth to me?
When my sad heart aches ‘til it nearly breaks, is it aught to Him, does He care?”
The chorus emphatically answers,
“Oh yes, He cares, I know He cares. His heart is touched by my grief.
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares.”
Psalm 30:5 assures me that grief in the night will end as I rest in the Lord – “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
One of my desires is taken from Philippians 3:10 – “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death…” A song that captures the message of that verse says,
“Lord, I want to know You more, deep within my heart, I want to know You,
Lord, I want to know You.
I would give my final breath just to know Your death and resurrection,
Lord, I want to know You more.”
I want to be so sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit that I will always hear His voice. He will lead me beside still waters and restore my soul if I allow Him to guide me.
I will always miss Bruce. There are things around me that remind me of him. When I look at my son and my daughter, I cannot help but be reminded of him. I am learning, however, to lean on Jesus more and more by spending time in His word and declaring praise to Him.