Bereavement II: Lessons on Grief

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Happy Thanksgiving! While this may not seem like the most Thanksgiving-themed episode, we hope that it will still be a timely message to you. We will pray it will serve as an opportunity for you to pause and give thanks to the Giver of all things, the God who is good no matter the circumstances we face. 

This week, we continue our series on Andrew Bonar and grief.

Andrew Bonar compared grief in life to a desert. Yet he recognized that, in God’s infinite fullness, He stoops down to care for each of us. 

Bonar remembered his wife’s birthday. She had been two months in glory. He mourned her life, but he was able to rejoice with her present glory. He prayed for God the Comforter to comfort and change him and fill him with urgency for his congregation. 

It’s strange how life goes on even after a great blow like losing a spouse. Yet Bonar did not grow bitter. He prayed to God, “Thy will be done, blessed, blessed Comforter. Thy time is best.” He was then without a wife, but he was not without a Comforter.

What lessons can we learn from Andrew Bonar’s Grief?

  • God meets with and comforts His children through the Scriptures.

      1. Our words are so weak. No single thing we say can fix anything. For the believer, the only, solid, unshifting Rock and the only constant source of true comfort is the Scripture and God applying it in us.
      2. Death feels wrong. It was never meant to be part of our lives. In 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, Paul reminds us of the hope we have in death. He calls us to “comfort one another with these words.”

  • The descriptions of God comfort us.


      1. Remind yourself of who God is - His goodness, kindness, sovereignty, magnitude, immutability. 

  • The glorification of the believer comforts us.


      1. Death is not without purpose. It is only the door to the ultimate end and goal of every believer - to be made perfectly whole and to be, at last, face-to-face with Jesus.

  • Grief is real. 


      1. Christians are not called to slap on a plastic smile and plow ahead. We recognize that grief is real. We mourn. But we don’t give ourselves over to grief.
      2. When the character of God comes into question, we are grieved. Because we long to see God loved. Believers do stumble, but we see a real person, weak, but clinging to God. It’s such a picture of God’s faithfulness.
  • Don’t waste your sorrow.


      1. Self-examination: take stock of your own life. Am I living in light of eternity?
      2. Devotion: Andrew Bonar prayed that the loss of his wife would not drive him away from God, but closer to God.
      3. Outward-Living: It is all too easy for grief to turn us inward, but we need to look to God, the only true Comforter.

There is great comfort in the old Latin phrase, Et teneo, et teneor, meaning, I hold and I am held.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for weekly updates, or listen / subscribe on: iTunesGoogle Play, and Spotify.

Show Notes

The Diary and Life of Andrew Bonar