rebelling against low expectations

How do I deal with the death of a loved one?


JOEY WRITES: Recently someone I loved died. I feel like I’m alone and no one understands. How do I deal with his death?

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are submitted by real rebelutionaries who are looking for godly answers to tough questions and lively conversation with other young adults. You can join the conversation by commenting below. If you'd like to submit your own discussion question, email us at [email protected].


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  • Truthfully, I feel very inadequate to answer this question as I’ve never before lost someone whom I truly love in a close relationship! But I do know it’s my biggest fear…something I NEVER want to happen and NEVER want to think about…so my heart goes out to you as you are experiencing what I fear most and I promise to pray for you Joey!!! All I can say is just remember, “God is our refuge and strength; a very present help in time of trouble”!

  • Hi Joey! I know very much how you feel. I lost my own brother almost 10 years ago and I have often felt the same way. Unless someone has experienced a loss themselves than most people can’t know how painful it is. I have written several bog posts about my brother on my blog here ( ), sharing the story of how he died and also poetry and my thoughts about him that I pray can be of encouragement to others, like you, who have also lost a loved one. If you go to my blog than go to the labels on the side and click on “Micah”, which will bring you to all my posts related to him.
    I will be praying for you Joey, as you grieve. Keep looking to Jesus who brings comfort and peace in the storm. If you have any other questions feel free to ask. I love to share about my brother in hopes that my experience can be of encouragement to others.
    Also I know Alex and Brett Harris have also lost their own mother several years ago, so I know that they understand the pain, as well.

  • Well talk to God. When you wanna talk about this loved one and remember, do it. Talk about them. Also, cry. Just let the tears flow. It’s ok. And don’t push family members away and isolate yourself.

    With my aunt who passed, sometimes I just stop and remember. And I just cry. You feel better when you just let it out, instead of keeping it inside.

  • I know how you feel. Well, kind of, eveyone’s situation is different, but I do have some experience. In the last year my grandma, and great-grandma died plus Grampa has cancer. I’ve lost other relatives and friends before that. Here are some things that have helped me:

    1. Always go back to the Word. Pound the promises of God into your head and get your friends and church to do the same.

    2. Remember who God is. He’s still in charge. He’s still good. And he still knows what he’s doing.

    3. Pray. God cares about what you’re going through. Don’t be scared just to tell Him what’s going on, and how you feel. Sometimes the sobbing blubbering prayers are the sweetest (in a weird way). Maybe pray through some of the psalms, they’re full of struggling people talking to God.

    4. For me, music is a great way to stuff my head with truth. “Come weary saints” is a great album by Sovereign Grace Music, it’s not real catchy but the lyrics are gold. Especially “as long as you are glorified”. I would recommend it.

    5. Remember what suffering is for. It’s to make God known. It’s to teach us to trust him. To show us why he’s trustworthy. To sanctify us. To make us love him more. To grow our faith. To kill our sin. It’s there to show us more of Him. It’s for our good, and His glory. It’s normal, and it’s good, because we’ll get to know Him better. I know this is hard stuff, but I’m convinced it’s true.

    And of course, the reason for all this is to trust Jesus with his own world. I honestly can’t say things are fine, but I’m learning to trust, and I hope this helps you do the same.

  • Wow. This is a tough question. I had to deal with this a few times over the years. It seemed for me that one year after the next a loved one died. My family and I comforted each other in those times, but I was angry at God for little while. Godly friends sent me verses and I dug deeper into the Word of God. After that, I realized that this was God’s plan. Nothing God does is in vain. Nothing. He has a purpose for everything. I hope this helps. =)

    Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
    And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

  • Don’t stuff it down inside. Let yourself cry. Don’t be afraid to ask God why but know He usually answers it with who–instead of telling you why He reveals Himself more to you, if you’re willing. Five years ago I lost someone I really cared about. And I felt the same way as you did–like no one understood. Like they didn’t really see why I was grieving. I’ve had the days where Romans 8:28 felt like a trite slap in the face (please don’t take this as an insult, Jasmine). And the days where I could see how the verse was so true. And the days where I felt nothing and was even angry with myself for feeling that way because didn’t I care? You can cling to God or you can turn away from Him. I hope you choose to hang on even when you feel like the ground beneath you is crumbling, because underneath are the everlasting arms. “From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.” (Ps 61:2) “Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your hearts before Him: God is a refuge for us.” (Ps 62:8) ~AnnaGrace
    P.S. Christopher Witmer wrote an article on this that says it a whole lot better than I can…here’s the link:

    • And when you have no faith of your own, borrow someone else’s. Find someone who will speak truth to you when you can’t do it yourself.

  • I have no experience, but I do highly recommend Steven Curtis Chapman’s music. His young adopted daughter died in an accident and a lot of his songs talk of the hope he has despite her death. Beauty will Rise, See You in a Little While, Our God is in Control, Questions, Spring is Coming and Jesus Will Meet You There are just some that might be relevant to you.

  • I’m so sorry for your loss! Losing a close loved one is something I’ve never been through so I’m afraid I can’t offer any help here. But I’ll be praying for you!

    His slave,


  • Hey Joey. I’m sorry i can’t think of anything to say that may help you right now, but i want you to know that i’m praying for you! God really is there for you, Joey. Hang in there, bro.

  • I am so sorry for your loss. Grief is so hard and everyone does it differently. And a loss of a loved one can be debilitating. You should freely grieve. Try and stay active so as not to focus on it too much. If it starts affecting your daily life, it would be wise to seek some Christian counsel. I will assume that your loved one was saved and that in itself is a gift from God. We grieve with hope of eternal life. I will pray for you. Trust God and stay close to Him.

    Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn,for they will be comforted.


  • When I was 6 years old, my father died. But I had the assurance that he was born-again and I will see him in Heaven again. When the Lord sent me to South Africa in 2012, I left behind about 120 kids that I had been involved with every week in children’s ministry, and some of them I had ministered to for two or three years. That was hard, to leave them behind. Especially with one of them, it was almost like going through the same things that some people go through when someone they know dies, because I was half way around the world and I didn’t know if I would ever see that person again and I had no contact with them. I went through a stage where I sort of became bitter against God for taking me away from them–even though I didn’t really realize or acknowledge that I had become bitter. It felt unfair. But after re-watching ‘Courageous’ about 3 or 5 months after I left, the Lord brought me to realize that I instead of being bitter about the time that I could have spent with that person but felt robbed of, I should thank the Lord for the time we shared together which He gave us. This brought immediate joy and freedom in that regard.

  • Hey Joey, it’s hard to know how to comfort those who are grieving. As someone who has been and is going through the process, one of the most valuable things that a good friend of mine told me is that it hurts. I know it’s stating the obvious but his point was that you are allowed to acknowledge that and you are allowed to feel it, no matter how strange or inconvenient it is to those around you. That’s how it is.

    And for now, it’s ok to admit that it feels like it will never stop hurting because sometimes it’s just too heartbreaking to think that the day will come when you won’t cry every time you think of them. So let it hurt and admit that it hurts. Badly. Those around you may not understand the depth of the pain but in admitting it is there, it can help them to begin to walk with you through it all. Remember too that grief is exhausting. It really drains you. But life goes on and you’ll have to go with it eventually, when you are ready.

    And you’ll hurt for a long time after everyone else has forgotten. Try not to be angry with them.

    The other thing is that you don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to. There is a time for words and there is a time to sit in silence. But eventually, maybe when the pain has dulled, you should talk because it’s good for you. You’ll know when you’re ready. It doesn’t even have to be all at once. For me, it was little things, for you it might be different.

    And in the meantime, hold onto God, he’s the only constant thing in this world. When everything else is falling to pieces around you, he’s the one thing that doesn’t change. It can be difficult but you need to be honest with him. Ask him why. Tell him if you are angry. Tell him you feel lost. Tell him that it feels like a piece of you is buried with your loved one in the dust. Jesus’ best firend died and his cousin was beheaded on the whim of a tyrant (he probably lost his earthly dad at some point too). He knows what it feels like to lose people. Hold on to him even if it’s clinging on with your fingernails. And remember that there is a prayer which does not require words, at times like this our hearts groan within us. Be comforted, God hears. He will put the pieces of your heart back together. But for now, it’s ok to be broken.

    • May I just say, this was beautifully put. It encouraged me and also gave me insight into what this grief is like for my friends.
      Also your comment about ‘try not to be angry at those who forget’ cut me to the core. I try to remember, but I fear I will forget my friend’s pain. Do you have any advice for those trying to support grieving friends?

      • It’s hard to say becuase everyone is different. I’ve found that it has helped sometimes just that others have acknowleged the grief. Sometimes, you need someone to sit in silence with you. I’vehad to do that for people before. It’s like saying I know you are hurt and I don’t necessarily understand but you don’t have to be alone. And when you are ready to talk again I’ll listen.
        One thing my family does is we tend to send flowers or a card or something to the person who is grieving 6-8 weeks asfter the funeral just to remind them that we’re still thinking of them and praying for them.
        I’m not the best advisor really, I just miss those I’ve lost and want to help make it easier for those who are feeling the aching wrongness of grief.

        • Thank you, that does help. It helps knowing that sometimes just sitting helps. I had something a little like this happen recently – my friend and I just looked into each others eyes, both full of tears, and didn’t say anything for a few moments. It encourages me to know he probably took even a small bit of comfort from this. Thanks again. 🙂

    • Have to whole heartedly agree with my friend Cassie over here. This is beautifully put. I know that at my Grandmother’s funeral people said things like “oh she’s with Jesus now. You don’t have to feel sad, cause she’s so happy” While the person might have good intentions in mind, but statements like this cut me deeply. At a funeral, people should recognize that death hurts people deeply. Those people should be comforted. I liked that you said “there is a prayer which doesn’t require words, at times like this our hearts groan within us.” He knows what you mean to say without you even saying it in words. I know that I wrote some pretty awful things addressed to God in my journal. I was so angry and hurt. I jut ached all over with pain. I think you understand what it means to truly comfort someone, thank you. This encouraged me beyond your imagination:)

      • Thanks *blushes*. I think sometimes people don’t know what to say so they come off as a little trite. The preacher at my grandad’s funeral tried to tell us he was a lovely man and he’s in heaven now but he wasn’t saved so it was a bit weird

  • Hey. I don’t know what your going through or what your feeling, and I’m not going to pretend that I do. Please know that I am here and praying as your sister in Christ:) It hurts. And I’m sorry. I lost my Grandma a couple years ago and I wasn’t a Christian for months because I didn’t want to be apart of Gods family, if all He did was take away from me. I am now a christian, but I still struggle with knowing the beauty of her new life without pain and the loneliness of her not being here anymore. Sometimes when I sing songs at church, I just start sobbing because my heart aches with sadness and hurt.
    I know that I probably wouldn’t be a Christian if God hadn’t sent some pretty amazing people into my life. There came a point where I became vulnerable with special people in my life and just cried and talked about how lonely I was. It only got worse because I have seasonal depression and coping with her death only made it worse. I just didn’t want to be here anymore and those people spoke Gods truth to me in ways I could have never imagined. So, find someone you trust to be vulnerable with, you aren’t alone. Our Father, who is infinitely loving and gracious is there for you, and so am I.

  • Joey, I can’t know the depths of what you’re going through, but I do know a little of it. Yesterday was the anniversary of the death of my dear friends’ Mum. I didn’t know her well, but I know the kids, and my heart bleeds for them, and for you. I spent a fair bit of the past few days in tears, my heart breaking for the pain they must be going through. It hurts me so bad, and I know it must hurt them, and you, ever so much more.

    Please, please know that you aren’t alone. There are others who have been through the same thing, and still more who haven’t but who are there to grieve with you.

    The only advice I can offer is this: pray, take it day by day, and don’t shut down. Reach out. Don’t bottle it inside. I think the hardest thing for friends and family of those grieving is not know what to say; what will help, what will hurt more. Yes, that’s our problem, please please don’t get me wrong, but if you reach out, let us know that you need a hug, you need a meal, you need a call, you need someone just to sit and cry with you, we know that our actions aren’t going to be interpreted as pity, or hurt you. It hurts me so much more to see someone grieving, but clamming it all inside and not letting others know how much they hurt. So please don’t push it all down.

    Dear sibling in Christ, I am praying for you. My heart aches for your pain, and I wish I could take it away. I don’t have much in the way of answers, but I know that our God is a big God, and the God of comfort. May He be with you in this time.

    A thousand blessings,

    • This is the link to the blog of one of my friends I mentioned above, who lost his mum 2 years ago. He doesn’t update it now, but I still often go back and read his posts. These are written as he deals with knowing his mum will die soon, and then his grief after her death. The poems are beyond words. The pain in them makes me weep every time, but the silver lining of hope and faith is probably the most beautiful thing I have ever encountered. Perhaps they will encourage you, remind you that there are people dealing with the same pain.

    • What a good friend! I don’t know about Joey or your friend, but it was a huge encouragement for me just to read something written by a girl
      who cares, and who weeps with those who weep. Thanks. By the way, this is some great advice.

      • Okie Gal, you don’t know how much this encourages me! Sometimes I feel like my fumbling efforts don’t have the desired effect (lifting up and comforting my friends), so I SO appreciate hearing that you (and I guess them) see and are even a little encouraged. Thank you. 🙂

    • Jason this is very helpful. I have a great-grandmother who’s 94 and a great-grandfather who is 94. Either one of them could die soon and my great-grandfather is not a christian.

    • Dear Jason,

      I want to thank you for this post. the reason i haven’t been on the rebelution or posting anything is because the last two months I’ve been going through a depression. I feel like i need to explain who died. Seven years ago my family started going to a new church. The man preaching was named Chris Rodgers, he’s the man that led me to the lord. He became like an uncle to me. When my great grandfather died he helped me through it. but then two years ago he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He lived the rest of his life in those two years. I remember the last thing he said to me before he died was “Ive ran the race and finished. I can only hope I’ve finished strong.” Because of this, even though his last words were to encourage me to stay strong to God, i drifted away. It was only because I was checking my email for the first time in what seems like forever that i saw that my question was posted. so i went on here and saw your post. You just helped me through a dark time in my life. Thank you.

  • Two words. Trust Jesus.

    Last fall I lost my grandma. And then in February I came *this* close to losing my best friend. Through out it all I kept telling my self I had to trust Jesus. Even though I can’t see what He’s doing in this situation I have to trust He has a perfect plan in it all. Since those things happened Ive seen a tiny sliver of how God has worked through the pain. But it didn’t see it untill months after the fact. So just remember. Jesus loves you Joey, and He has a plan in your life even if it’s hard to see it sometimes.

rebelling against low expectations

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