The Strange Mix of Grief and Grace

The Strange Mix of Grief and Grace

“And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.” Acts 4:33

As I wrote earlier, assaulting waves were unending like waves on an ocean. One after the other. Sometimes the waves were strong and sometimes not as much. But they kept coming. Persistently. I learned I had to be just as persistent in facing the waves. As I pressed into the repeated waves, I learned a beautiful lesson.

I experienced a very strange mixture of grief and grace. Simultaneous. Integrated. Overlapping. As a wave of grief hit the shore of my heart, I learned to turn and face it and wait it out.

“I lost the world I loved, but I gained a deeper awareness of grace.” Jerry Sittser, A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss

Waves of grace counterattack waves of grief.

But, let’s be honest and acknowledge something—this elixir of grief and grace is a strange mixture. It’s different than seeing waves of bad being met with waves of good. It’s deeper, more authentic. It’s real life. It’s an unfiltered reality. It’s not shallow, and it’s not trivial. It’s real and raw. You don’t have to diminish the pain and grief to deal with it. You have to acknowledge grief, but in complete faith you have to anticipate the resounding answer of grace. By faith.

“Grace seems to work that way. It’s beautiful but strangely so, like a messy masterpiece.” Justin Wainscott, Lost in Wonder, Love, and Praise: Hymns and Poems

The mixture of grief and grace is profound. A messy masterpiece, but a masterpiece all the same.

The meeting of grief and grace is unexpected, especially in the early days of grief. The grief seems so piercing. So pervasive. But then the echo of grace is right there replying with its resounding answer. An echo. I’m reminded of the promise in Psalm 30:5:

“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5

Waves of weeping are met by waves of grace-inspired joy. Again, it is a strange mixture that does not seem to go together. Like oil and water.

I was encouraged by a particular line out of the hymn, “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty:” “Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.” Daily. Sufficient. So very true.

This provision of grace, mercy, and goodness in the face of grief is so unexpected, except that it’s wholly biblical. We should expect it. We should trust him. Take him at his word. His grace attends me every day as it reverberates against the grief. Psalm 145:14 assures us, “The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.” If you are falling and are bowed down by grief, he raises you up and upholds you.

Grief and grace—while a strange mixture—actually go together quite well. What else would you expect from a God of miraculous redemption?

“Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace.” Psalm 86:6


  1. Anonymous

    Thank you for writing about your journey. You are helping a lot of people look up and get closer to God.

  2. Annette

    Grace, that undeserved love of the one who loves and cares for us through it all, even the grief thing, yes He would know it full well.

    Be blessed friend.

  3. Cyndy

    beautiful. living in the intersection of human and divine, the heart. I’ve heard it said recently that help is in the natural, and hope is in the supernatural. Sometimes I fight tremendously with what “help” is here in the natural, be it anger or sadness that is arising, a person who is nearby doing something that seems to agitate me, my thoughts about that person, illness, etc. Our definition of help is somewhat defined and often attaches an expectation of specific form. It sounds like you have been staying at the foot of the cross, with the experience that the Christ in you is having, and staying there is hard and often so very painful. though if we do not edit the Holy Spirit the grace is then felt within the grief. a swirl of waves crashing over us in some strangely encompassing way.

  4. Anonymous

    I experienced that grace when my dad passed away and I was half-way around the world. I used to think I would never be able to handle that if it happened and I was right, because I didn’t have to! God was handling it for me and the “peace that passes understanding” is the only way I can explain what happened in my heart through the Holy Spirit’s comfort.

  5. Anonymous

    Yes. That is the truth. The waves…the grace…the sadness…wait, there is a joy! God’s got this!

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