Where Does Grief Go?

Dan Lovaglia, Camp Pastor, Camp Paradise | March 15, 2024

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

It’s painful to experience a loss. The loss of a job. The loss of health. The loss of a loved one. These and so many other losses are hard to stomach. But do you know what’s more painful than a loss? The inability to grieve well—to process our pain so it has somewhere to go.

You’re probably aware of the five inevitable stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It takes a lot of work to metabolize our heartache, but it’s worth it in the end. And, for those of us in relationship with God, we get a head start on this healing process because the Lord is present, comforting us in all our troubles, as today’s verses reveal. We can always count on His Holy Spirit to compassionately console us in the right direction.

So, let’s assume you deal with the sudden loss of a career path you enjoyed. Or you get over the shock of a medical diagnosis and embrace new life after treatment. Or you face death in the face of someone dear to you and come out stronger on the other side. Now that you’ve grieved well, where does that grief go?

God’s purpose for the pain we get through is greater than filling a library of memories with lessons learned that we keep to ourselves. The Lord stores up healing in our hearts to equip us to care for and encourage others in similar troubles. If you’re not so sure, 2 Corinthians 1:4 spells it out, “[He comforts us] so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” In the end, where does our grief go? Its healing properties travel from one person in need to the next.

When you and I choose to grieve  with the Father of all compassion, the God of all comfort by our side, we can be a conduit of empathy and emotional strength. And because God is involved, He’ll also make sure our grief has somewhere good to go.

Next Steps

  • Are you in a season where you need to grieve? Talk with your small group leader or contact Pastoral Support at Willow Creek so you’re not going through your situation alone.
  • Has God helped you heal from heartache? Consider where the Lord is inviting you to compassionately comfort others. There are opportunities to get involved at and through the church, or ask a friend to share how they’ve seen you uniquely pass along God’s comfort.