“Grief gives the full measure of love, and it is somehow reassuring to learn, even by suffering, how large and powerful love is.” Wendell Berry
As I’ve been processing my dad’s recent death, one of the ways I do that is by reading, which usually leads to reflection, prayer, and writing. Below are a few books and articles I’ve found helpful this week in finding hope and even rejoicing while facing the pain of death and loss.
- We Shall See God: Charles Spurgeon’s Classic Devotional Thoughts on Heaven, edited by Randy Alcorn. This fifty-day devotional includes selections from Charles Spurgeon sermons related to heaven, death, resurrection, and grief. Each selection is followed by some words from Randy Alcorn that help process and apply Spurgeon’s words. It’s the book I’ve found most helpful so far, both in understanding truths related to death and heaven but also in comforting words for those who remain.
- The Silent Shades of Sorrow: Healing for the Wounded by Charles Spurgeon. I’ve always found this to be a helpful book. It includes several chapters that deal with different areas of pain or sorrow in our life and how God meets us with healing, comfort, and grace.
- The One Year Book of Hope: A 365-Day Devotional with Daily Scripture Readings and Uplifting Reflections that Encourage, Comfort, and Restore Joy by Nancy Guthrie. This book provides five short, daily devotionals for fifty-two weeks, all related to finding hope in various areas of sorrow or struggle.
- Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow by Nancy Guthrie and Holding on to Hope: A Pathway through Suffering to the Heart of God by Nancy Guthrie. Nancy Guthrie has a few books on suffering that are all rooted in biblical truth as well as practical comfort. She speaks from her own story but connects that story to knowing the God of the Bible, who has good purposes in suffering and offers His presence in suffering.
- Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy Devotional Journal by Mark Vroegop. This book by my former pastor is such a helpful book in understanding why we can lament and grieve to God but also in helping us learn how to do so. This book is the devotional journal and is excellent for practicing lament in your own words. We do not hide our grief and questions from God but we take them to God.
- Hannah Coulter: A Novel by Wendell Berry. I’ve written elsewhere about my love for this book—and for all Berry’s fictional stories—and it might seem odd to include a novel in this list, but sometimes it’s helpful to make sense of your own story, circumstances, and the events in life through reading another person’s story. Hannah’s story includes losing loved ones and learning to live with grief, all while realizing how much love and gratitude exists through the grief.
- “Six Words to Say through Tears: The Source of Comfort in the Pain of Grief” by Nancy Guthrie
- “The Hope of Heaven in the Presence of Death” by David McLemore and “Jesus our Hope” by David McLemore
- “How to Grieve Like A Christian” by Tim Challies
- “3 Reasons for Hope in the Face of Grief and Worry” by Alistair Begg
- “Grief is not an Enemy of Faith” by Trevin Wax
- “2 Truths for the Grieving” by Matt Klingler
- “Dying is but Going Home” by Randy Alcorn and Charles Spurgeon