Some of you know we lost our youngest daughter last Fall. On most days, quite uninvited, grief stops in for a visit. I finally understand why back in the day, people wore black, or at least black armbands, long after their loved one was gone. It was a way to signal to the world that you are not yourself, that your moods fall under the spell of a shadow. It was a way to telegraph that pangs of loss preoccupy you; that longings linger on for one whose presence is lost, but the memories of their life run wild within you.
Grief is unavoidable. We will all slog through the valley. Most of us will be in a position to help others process their pain.
The other day someone asked me for resources to help comfort those grieving, and the leaders called to serve them. It was a timely request. I thought over the books that roped me to the mast of this season, keeping my eyes fixed on the Savior, our “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief” (Is 53: 3). Other material came to mind, stuff I knew had served pastors and leaders in caring well for grieving saints. I was reminded that the right book becomes a close companion when grief comes.
If that’s you or someone you know, I hope these companions will serve your soul – or the soul of one you love – this season.
For the leader serving those who grieve:
- Faithful Endurance: The Joy Of Shepherding People over a Lifetime by person
- God in the Dark: The Assurance of Faith Beyond a Shadow of Doubt by Os Guinness
- From Grief To Glory by James W. Bruce III (especially the death of a child)
- Facing Grief: Counsel For Mourners by John Flavel
- God’s Healing for Life’s Losses: How to Find Hope When You’re Hurting by Bob Kellemen
- David Powlison on the five stages of grief:
- The Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perseverance in the Lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce by John Piper
For those who grieve:
- Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament by Mark Vroegop
- Seasons of Sorrow: The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God by Tim Challies
- Hearing Jesus Speak Into Your Sorrow by Nancy Guthrie
- A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser
- A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
- Good Grief: A Companion for Every Loss byGranger Westberg’s
- A Grief Sanctified by JI Packer & Richard Baxter