Grief is a universal reality. Whatever causes it—the
death of a loved one, terminal illness, accidents, wayward children, or other traumatic events, grief inevitably
comes to some degree to every person who lives. Have
you ever wondered what Adam said to comfort Eve
after Abel’s funeral? What did Job say to his wife as he
buried his seven sons and three daughters? How did
King David work through his grief over his wayward
son, Absalom? How did Mary cope when her beloved
Son, Jesus, was crucified? In some way, each of these individuals coped. In fact, mortals have been coping with
grief through all generations.
1. Baca means “weeping” which is generally associated
with sorrow. Psalm 84:6 refers to the valley of Baca.
This verse may or may not have referred to a geographical location, but certainly sorrow is a part of life. A time
of grief is not a pleasant experience and we would not
choose to walk this way. However, we are not exempt
simply because we serve Christ. We will have sorrows,
but God moves in the shadows as well as the bright
spots of our lives. And because He is there, we can go
through the darkest valleys.
God permits sorrow for a purpose. Even as we mourn,
we can have faith because we are one with a God who
feels our sorrow with us. The Bible indicates that if we
allow God to teach us and help us through our grief,
then a spiritual purpose can and will be found (1 Peter
5:10). Why does God permit us to go through sorrow?
Explain some of the things we might learn through the
experience of grief.
2. In the beginning, Job was unable to see a divine purpose for his suffering. Yet God was working out a plan.
Job’s tears were blinding (Job 16:20) and he seemingly
felt abandoned as he searched for God (Job 23:8-10).
Still, he was able to cope. In today’s terms, Job suffered
from the “normal grieving process.” Does a Christian
experience this, as well as an unbeliever? Job’s response
to his circumstances gives us biblical evidence that
individuals with faith in God go through the grieving
Those who have made a study of the natural reactions
to grief tell us that the process includes the emotions of
shock, bewilderment or confusion, questions, guilt, and
depression. A grieving person may not feel all of the
emotions at once, but they will certainly feel some of
them. Using the following Scriptures, identify the emotions that Job went through. Job 1:20; 7:4; 9:17; 10:15;
13:24; 23:10; 29:2-5
3. Job did not know the reason for his afflictions since
he was unaware of the conversation between God and
Satan. God told Satan that His servant Job was upright
and there was none like him in the earth. But even
though Job was not aware of God’s commendation, his
faith remained in God. He did not know what the end
would be, or that he would get back what he had lost.
He was shocked by his friends’ accusations that he had
sinned and that this was why he was suffering. Job was a
believer. There are differences between the grief of an
unbeliever and a believer. The unbeliever has no hope
of the hereafter, but Job had hope and was able to come
through as gold (Job 23:10). How did Job cope with the
sorrow and grief he felt? See Job 19:25-26; 27:5-6; 33:28.
Week 6: Walking Through the Valley
4. We read in Ecclesiastes 3:4,7 that there is a time for
mourning and a time to keep silent. When the patriarch
Jacob died, his family and friends mourned for him for
seventy days. When Naomi lost her husband and two
sons, she spoke of feeling desolate and empty. A professor of English, writing about a tragedy in her life
told how after six months of grief she was still feeling
physical effects from her sorrow. Each grief is different.
Each person is different. The timing of the recovery
process depends on the individual spirit as well as various external factors. The healing process may seem slow,
but there are actions which will help hasten the healing.
What are they?
5. In much of today’s society, it seems there is a degree
of impatience with continuing grief. Some are inclined
merely to send a sympathy card and then hope that
comfort will be supplied somehow. But as Christians we
should actively minister to the grief of others. The Bible
tells us to weep with them that weep (Romans 12:15).
It also instructs us to bear one another’s burdens, and
so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). To support
means to hold up and sustain the one who is suffering.
What are some specific actions that we can take to help
bear the load and assist the one who has a terminal illness, is bereaved, or is suffering from some other cause
6. Some people believe that any display of grief or tears
is a sign of weakness. As a result, they stifle the feelings
and bottle up unshed tears inside. This repression is not
emotionally healthy, because severe problems can arise
as a result of denying one’s true feelings. Jesus wept at
Lazarus’ death (John 11:35). His heart was touched by
the sight of the grieving sisters, Martha and Mary, when
their brother died. He didn’t keep His feelings all inside.
Some other Scriptures that indicate Jesus’ sympathy are
when He wept over Jerusalem, and His suffering in the
Garden concerning the sins of the world. Isaiah 63:9
tells us, “In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the
angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his
pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried
them all the days of old.” How does Christ’s experience
and compassion for our troubles help us in our suffering?
7. No matter what depth of sorrow we are feeling, nor
how long it may linger, sorrow is temporary. The worst
of the pain will pass even in this life. For the Christian,
there is always the assurance of God’s continued hand
over his life. Jesus told His disciples, “Ye shall weep and
lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy” (John
16:20). What are some of the other promises in the
Scriptures which offer strength and hope to the one who
is experiencing a difficult place?
Scriptures used in this session:
Job 1:20; 7:4; 9:17; 10:15; 13:24; 16:20; 19:25-26; 23:10;
27:5-6; 29:2-5; 33:28; Psalm 84:6; Ecclesiastes 3:4,7;
Isaiah 63:9; John 11:35; 16:20; Romans 12:15; Galatians
6:2; 1 Peter 5:10
Grief is a universal reality. Whatever causes it—the