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The 4 Biggest Assets in My Grief


Grieving a loved one’s death is a long, often lonely, always painful process. Four key players stand out in my continued healing journey through grief.

First is my firm belief in the promises of Jesus about our eternal future. They are blood-bought, meaning our resurrection is guaranteed. Nanci and I spent so much time talking about the world to come, and she would walk me through her afterlife bucket list. We would talk of adventures together on God’s New Earth that are all still ahead of us. So though her death is a heartbreaking interruption, we can both anticipate the everlasting reunion in a world without sin and suffering and grief, where happiness will be the air we breathe.

Secondly, I cherish my friendship with God. I have frequently pondered with astonishment in the last year Jesus’s words in John 15:15: “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (NIV).

Jesus is my closest and dearest friend. He was and is Nanci’s closest friend. Jesus was closer to Nanci than I ever was, and He is closer to me than she ever was. He’s the only being in the universe that is true love. And He is with me on this present earth, and He is with her in Heaven; so that means she is with Him, and I am with Him. That certainty closes what would otherwise seem a huge distance between Nanci and me now. Jesus is the bridge that keeps us connected until we live in that new world, with new bodies and minds, that He is preparing for us. The connection I feel to her through Him is profound.

Jesus promised, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). And in Hebrews we’re promised “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (13:5). Two of the three members of the triune God—Son and Spirit—indwell us! And He invites us to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). These promises mean that no matter how we may feel, we are not abandoned or unloved.

Thirdly—and these are not in order, or my dog wouldn’t come before family and friends—but one of the great blessings since Nanci went to be with Jesus has been our dog Gracie, who we picked out together. When I’m not traveling she is my constant companion. Every day we run together, and her sheer excitement and delight as she dramatically pulls her leash forward makes me laugh hard and run faster than I otherwise would. Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” Animals are the second most important part of God’s creation, after people. We should see God’s nature in His creation.


Gracie is, of course, not God; she is secondary, part of His creation, but she points me to the primary, who is God alone. She snuggles with me, sending a message of love and affection. When I let her outside she runs around the yard crazily. When I give her one of a variety of healthy treats, she darts and jumps and is overcome with exuberance from the moment she hears the bag open. She then charges off to her favorite spot in the living room and relishes  her treat for ten seconds before eating it. Her body languages declares, “I am surely the world’s most fortunate creature.” It is nearly impossible for me to be unhappy in her presence.


Fourthly, I’ve found a great deal of comfort in my family, church, small group, and close circle of friends. Paul instructed the Galatians to “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ” (6:2).

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Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries (www.epm.org), a nonprofit ministry dedicated to teaching principles of God’s Word and assisting the church in ministering to the unreached, unfed, unborn, uneducated, unreconciled, and unsupported people around the world. Before starting EPM in 1990, Randy served as a pastor for fourteen years. He is a New York Times best-selling author of over fifty books, including Heaven (over one million sold), The Treasure Principle (over two million sold), If God Is Good, Happiness, and the award-winning novel Safely Home. His books sold exceed ten million copies and have been translated into over seventy languages.