God, Grief, and Good Books

The email came after two others.

First, a rejection letter. Second, a bitter note intended to wound. Third, an invitation to read the pre-release of a book about grief.

At the time, I was sitting beside a sleeping loved one in the throes of painful, frightening suffering and uncertainty.

It won’t surprise you that I said yes to reading For All Who Grieve by Colin Smith.

What was a surprise, however, was that the book about grief is based on the stories of families who lost children.

As the first pages laid bare the suffering a family faced, I felt guilty for counting any of my circumstances as grief. Isn’t losing a child one, if not the, worst form of grief? By the end of the introduction, I was assured, though:

A book rooted in Lamentations and stories of such immense suffering gets right to the heart of what grief is about and God’s design for it- so it applies no matter how traumatic or typical the cause of the pain.

For All Who Grieve is just such a book, and one of a kind in many ways. Concise, realistic, and humble, each chapter begins with a story of loss and the grieving process, then hones in on an element of grief, like tears or guilt. The Biblical book of Lamentations is woven in to demonstrate God’s profound understanding of and response to grief.

Words I would use to describe both this book and its depiction of God’s response to our grief are:

  • Tender
  • Compassionate
  • Honest
  • Gentle
  • Helpful
  • Hopeful
  • Direct

Examples of quotes include:

  • “The answer to false guilt is truth and the answer to true guilt is grace.”
  • “True faith is not an escape from reality. It is the gift that equips us to face reality in a world scarred by pain, sorrow, and loss.”

Who this book is for:

  • Parents whose children have died (though it may be particularly difficult for those whose children did not know the Lord)
  • Those grieving the death of any loved one
  • People who want to grow in compassion and understanding towards those who are grieving
  • Individuals grieving something other than death who want to get to the heart of loss and gain perspective on God’s involvement in great loss

I find many books addressing topics like grief can be very heavy and burdensome. For All Who Grieve is written with an understanding of not adding to the load, but also respects the natural weight of each topic.

This book was a help to me in my own personal losses, and also helped me better pray for those I know who are facing tragedies. I would highly recommend it, especially as a gift to people suffering the death of a child or another loved one.

<I read a digital pre-release of this book in order to write this honest review.>


You can find For All Who Grieve here.  I think it will be available on retailers like Amazon and through the ministry Unlocking the Bible soon


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6 Replies to “God, Grief, and Good Books

  1. Bethany, I’m so sorry about the rejection letter and bitter note … it’s tough when those come one right after another. I know what you mean when you say books about grief can be heavy and burdensome; “For All Who Grieve” sounds like a wonderful resource …

    1. Thanks, Lois! Gods timing in that was such a comfort. I’m sure you know well what I mean, and I hope you are blessed by this book if you ever read it!

  2. I love this: “The answer to false guilt is truth and the answer to true guilt is grace.” This sounds like a great resource.

    I am so sorry about the rejection letter and wounding note. May God give grace and direction in both situations.

  3. I loved that too. Thank you for your kindness, God is and has given grace and direction : ) I hope you are blessed by this resource if you ever read it!

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