Comforting Grieving Parents

I’m not sure if there’s anything that touches our hearts more than a child’s death. It doesn’t matter if they die as an infant or an adult child; if they die before their parents, it’s gut-wrenching. In recent days, I’ve had a couple of dear families whom I love who are going through this heart breaking experience and it’s causing me to reminisce about the sorrow a parent endures when their child dies.

I understand a bit of that sorrow, after the stillbirth of our second daughter, Ashley twenty-seven years ago. I can’t think of a time that I’ve experienced grief so deeply as at that time. I remember seeing people laugh and go about life so “normally” and I wondered how they could be jovial when my heart was breaking so desperately. It was from that deep pit of sorrow that I began to search the Scriptures myself for comfort from God’s Word. What hope could I have in the midst of all this sorrow? Would I ever be happy again?

On the day of her funeral, I remember standing at the bathroom sink curling my hair in preparation for this dreaded day. I had my Bible on the sink in front of me and I was still searching out of the emptiness of my heart for something to salve this wound. The Lord directed my eyes to Psalm 73:25, 26 –

Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

This described me perfectly. I only desired the Lord and His comfort. My flesh had failed, and now my heart was following closely behind. But I was encouraged as the Lord reminded me that He would be my strength for this day. This day of walking behind a tiny white casket. This day of putting my little baby girl in the cold, dark ground. This day of walking away and leaving her there in that cemetery.

Then tomorrow when I awoke, He would be my portion for the grace for that day, too. I’d find grace to put my feet on the ground and live, grace to love my husband, and grace to care for my three year-old daughter. My life moved on in those gray days and I ran over and over again to that passage of Scripture to find what I needed for the next difficult moment – going to church, seeing a new baby at the store, answering the questions by my daughter about her baby sister, and also listening to people’s responses to Ashley’s death.

Out of my searching the Scriptures, I learned some wonderful truths. Here is Truth from God’s Word that will comfort parents during their time of sorrow unlike anything else:

  1. Your infant is in heaven. II Samuel 12;23 – But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. David is speaking in reference to his baby son that died. David had received understanding that though the child had died, he would go to him – he would join him in heaven some day. Any child or person who dies before they have the mental abilities to understand salvation will, by grace go to heaven – this is God’s mercy.
  2. Your child is a living soul in heaven. No person (baby or adult) will be an angel when they go to heaven. I Cor. 13:12 – For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. How is a person known? By the way they look. We will recognize one another as we did here on earth. Why does it comfort people to think a baby is another angel that God needed? He has all the angels He needs. People are people and angels are angels. There’s really no comfort in telling someone their child is an angel, but understanding that they are a person alive with Christ brings great joy!
  3. Your child is perfect and is rejoicing now. Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  
  4. You can be with them One Day! Rom. 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. I Thess 4:14-18 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
  5. Everything you need to be comforted and encouraged is written to you in God’s Word. Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Don’t look for God to speak to you through a meteor shower and think that’s your child’s way of telling you they’re happy. God doesn’t speak to us that way. He gave us His Word to tell us everything we need to know. Dig into it. Even if you can only concentrate on one verse during your sorrow, cling to it, memorize it and believe it!
If you’re wondering how you can comfort your friend or family member during their time of loss, let me tell you about the person who comforted me best when Ashley died. It was my dad – a man of few words. I’ll never forget him arriving at my house and entering my bedroom where I was standing. He hugged me and wept with me and said nothing. His tears were enough communication of his heart for me and for his granddaughter. Sometimes crying with the person says more than all the speeches we could conjure up. Just love the grieving parents and make your words few. Talk to the Lord about their pain rather than talking to them. They need to lean in and listen to God’s voice and comforts right now. If they ask you questions, just point them to the Word of God so they’ll hear only Him speaking.

 

I trust this will help you to know how to encourage parents who are grieving. It’s a painful process, but they’re not alone if they know the God of all comfort. He will speak Words to them that you and I could never match. Point them to The Word. Psalm 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.

 

With love,

7 thoughts on “Comforting Grieving Parents”

  1. No one can comfort like one who has been through the pain. II Cor 1:4…so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received for God

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