Recently, I lost a friend to cancer. Being with him and his family in his final hours reminded me just how difficult and painful death can be. In fact, it’s difficult to determine who struggles most – the cancer patient whose life ended, or the spouse, children, and family and friends left to pick up the pieces. These twelve Bible verses have comforted and encouraged many.
A song I heard not long ago reminded me that reasons don’t help. Why this happened? Who to blame? Why God did or didn’t... None of that helps, stops the pain, or fills the hole. What we need most is to know God is with us, loves us, and has eternal plans for us. I have found reading and reflecting on these words of Scripture very helpful.
1. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
2. Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).
3. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am… I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:1-4, 18)
4. I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love… (Romans 8:38-39)
5. “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians2:9)
6. “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” (2 Corinthians 5:1).
7. “Today you will be with me in Paradise (Luke 23:43).
8. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (Revelation 21:4).
9. “We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus…” (2 Corinthians 4:14)
10. “So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15: 40, 42-44).
11. “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:21-23).
12. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Psalm 23, KJV
Pray and meditate on these heavenly assurances. You can personalize them by replacing pronouns with your name or a loved one’s. For example, For God so loved _________ that he gave his one and only Son, that _________believing in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
Share these promises with loved ones and hold them close as you walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23). God bless you!