Why Grief Doesn't Drive Me Away from God

Why Grief Doesn't Drive Me Away from God
Apr 2023

We will bring God glory when we allow our grief to help us grow into people who reflect God's love.

Grief can drive us away from others, and oftentimes, it can even drive us away from God. Throughout our lives, we will experience grief, yet it is up to us to decide how we handle the grieving process. Grief can be overwhelming and paralyzing; however, we have a mighty God who is walking with us through the sorrow. If you have recently experienced grief or are presently going through a season of grief, know that you are not alone. There are other believers across the globe dealing with grief, and more importantly, there is a God who understands your grief.

God and Grief

We often think God doesn't understand our emotions, as if they are unique to us alone. This isn't true as God understands everything we are feeling. In fact, when Lazarus died, Jesus wept (John 11:35). The Lord did not only shed a tear, but rather, He was weeping. If you have experienced weeping after a loved one's death or after another depressing event, you are aware of how painful weeping is and the intensity of the sadness. Since Jesus knows what it's like to experience deep grief, He can relate to our deepest, most depressing emotions. We are never alone in our struggles as God sees all of our grief, pain, and tears.

If I'm honest, in my own life, I have allowed grief to drive me away from God. After my mother passed away many years ago, my grief and anger were directed at God. I had known enough about God to know that He could have stopped my mother from dying. It took days upon days for me to soften my heart back to God. Once I realized that God never intended for anyone to die, then I was able to turn back to Him. If you have done something similar, know that it is okay and it is part of grief.

We see God as someone who could prevent the grief, yet He doesn't. While we can't know for certain why God allows terrible experiences to happen, we can know God is working all things out for our good (Romans 8:28). I don't know why my mother had to die at such a young age, yet God has been creating immeasurable growth in my life ever since. In the same way, maybe your partner left you, a friendship ended, or you lost your job. With all of these griefs, God is working something far greater out of them. Yes, you're in pain and are experiencing grief, yet through the pain and grief, God is shaping your character to be more like His Son.

Understanding Scripture

We also don't have to let grief drive us away from God because we have a firm knowledge and understanding of the Bible. To accuse God of causing our grief would be to blame God for sin. As we know, God did not create evil nor does He endorse it. In fact, the Bible tells us God hates sin (Psalm 97:10; Proverbs 6:16-19). Sin was the result of free will. Since God created us with free will, we can use our free will to either do good or bad.

Sadly, the first humans to ever be created chose to disobey God and sinned against Him. While it is easy to blame Adam and Eve, we all do the same thing today. We are all guilty of sinning against God and disobeying Him. Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." As we can see, none of us are innocent, and we are all equally guilty of causing sin in the world. Yet, even though sin is in the world, God can still bring about our ultimate good and cause us to grow in Him.

Each time we are faced with grief, we have two options. We can either choose to allow the grief to drive us away from God, or we can choose to allow the grief to draw us closer to God. From my own experience, grief can act as a process to lead to a new place or a specific turning point. My grief first drove me away from God, but then it drove me right back into the loving embrace of Him. Whether you first allow the grief to drive you away and then to return or you choose to allow the grief to draw you closer to God from the start, you can experience God's grace, comfort, and love.

Accessing Empathy

God doesn't want us to experience pain and grief, yet He can and will use it for our growth as Christians. As human beings, we often think that nothing good can come from grief. We only see pain, agony, and depression. While all of these things do accompany grief, they are not the only things that come along with it. Grief can also help us become more emphatic, sympathetic, and understanding of others.

I cannot speak on behalf of all people but only myself. However, I have noticed throughout my time of grief that I have become more understanding and emphatic with others. I can understand the pain of losing a loved one and encourage others as they are walking through the pain. Maybe you have noticed the same in your life. It could be that your cause of grief was due to your spouse leaving you, yet now, you can encourage, help, and support those who are going through similar heartache. We will bring God glory when we allow our grief to help us grow into people who reflect God's love.

Our entire purpose in life is to live for God and to make Him known to others. I understand that during times of grief, we don't particularly want to go out or spend time with others, yet this can be one of the most healing parts of grief. You don't have to throw a party the day after tragedy, but what I'm saying is don't allow grief to cause you to shut out others. If you shut out others, you will most likely shut out God in the process. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and open with trusted loved ones. If your family is not a safe place to talk about grief due to fears of judgmental attitudes, talk with a therapist, a friend, or another trusted individual.

In hindsight, I wish I didn't allow my grief to drive me away from God, yet I can see how this was a step to fully turning to God in my grief. God is the only One who can truly comfort us in a lasting way when we are experiencing grief. Yes, suffering is painful, unpleasant, and unavoidable. Every person will experience grief at some point in their life, yet we must know what to do with it. We can keep it to ourselves and allow the grief to cause us to grow bitter and hateful, or we can allow the grief to help us grow in Christ.

The Lord comforts us in our grief, and He promises to never leave us (Psalm 23). Although we might sometimes feel alone in our grief, we are never alone. God is not a feeling. God is God, and He is with us whether we feel Him or not. Grief will cause lasting pain in our lives, yet there is healing, comfort, and peace found in God. While it is common for grief to drive us away from God, we don't have to let it. We can allow the grief to cause us to run home to God.

Photo Credit: (C)iStock/Getty Images Plus/kaipong

Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.