Turning Grief to Joy

“Very truly I tell you,
you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices.
You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.”
John 16:20 NIV

It doesn’t matter how many times you experience the process, it still blows you away every time. When your heart feels shattered and you need reminders to simply breathe, there it is. The world taunting you as it continues spinning in orbit. People around you completely oblivious to anything changed. Life carrying on. Significance ignored.

As we weep and mourn, the world rejoices.

Jesus got this. He told His disciples it was going to happen that way, that His death would seem insignificant to everyone but them. People would carry on like it didn’t even matter one they loved so deeply was gone.

But then He promised. He assured them the pain would transform.
You see, it never goes away, only transfigures.
And friends, He’s promised. Our grief can turn to joy.

Sometimes I wonder if the world rejoicing is our reminder of the big picture. Maybe it’s a glimmer of promise. Of significance sustained.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart,
and you shall see that in truth
you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
~Kahlil Gibran

No matter how much I search, I am convinced I’ll never find it. Not one Bible verse or phrase. Nowhere does it say not to grieve. On the contrary. It gives permission to mourn. In the verse first mentioned, it’s even an expectation.

I fully believe grieving is a gift from our Heavenly Father. It’s proof we really can love that much. So much it hurts when it feels like it has been stolen from us.

Sometimes I wonder if what we’re really worried about is that we will forget. We’ll forget how much we loved so deeply. We mourn to delight in that again. And we long to stop the world from spinning. To freeze time until we find our footing. Until significance is acknowledged.

But when we are flattened, crushed, in the depths of loss, our Abba Father is there waiting to pick us back up again. To lavish us with His love and soothe our hurt. To remind us of His promises. To come to our rescue.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
Psalm 34:18 NLT

He’s promised to be there for us. He will weep with us, hold us, shelter our hearts, help us put the pieces back together again.

Because He understands what we’re going through. He knows this feeling of grief. Of longing to have love back again. He knows the gaping hole another life can leave. For we are each significant to Him.

Friends, only in His arms does the world stop spinning. It’s the only place we can simply be.

And when you find your way there,
the promise becomes reality.
Grief turns to joy.
Not forgotten. Simply transfigured.

How about you? Have you experienced grief transformed? How did it happen for you? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,


Joy in affliction is rooted in the hope of resurrection,
but our experience of suffering also deepens the root of that hope.
~John Piper

NOTE: This is a part of the mini-series started on my stillborn son’s birthday. You may find all the posts on grieving  HERE.

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18 thoughts on “Turning Grief to Joy

  1. Yes Nikki. I’ve had the experience you talk about here, although I find it difficult to label my experience as grief. In my mind, grief relates to death. I suppose in a way, I’ve grieved over a past life or rather lifestyle that is no more. It’s a season of life that is essentially dead other then the memories. My “grief” came with my husbands layoff, the loss of our home and nest egg, and our move out of Southern CA where I had lived half of my life. God helped me find joy in the storm and that is how my book UnEMPLOYED Faith was “born”. Now I have this growing ministry where other women going thru the same emotional and financial struggles are coming together in a Facebook group supporting, listening, and praying for each other. It’s amazing what God can do with our pain.

    • It is amazing what God can do with our pain, Rosann! When we give it to Him. That’s all it really takes, isn’t it. Complete surrender. So proud of how you’ve taken your grief and turned it into His glory. What a blessing you are to so many–me included.
      Thank you for sharing your journey of grief with me, friend. So thrilled to see the joy you have found on the other side! To God be the glory…

      All for Him with hugs to you,

  2. ahh,..this does make more sense to me. Thanks for taking the time to research and thinking this through.
    Naturally each of us have had seasons of grief of one kind or another. One degree or another at that. Whether death of a loved one…moving away…abandoned friendship…whatever. It’s only by taking it to the Father have I been able to withstand the pain and rejoice in the comfort of drawing closer to Him. Knowing He was there through every bit of the process.
    Your ability to put thoughts into words amaze me…thanks for sharing.

    • Oh, you are so right. There is comfort to be found while drawing closer to Him, isn’t there! What joy! it’s the kind of joy that subsides the pain, that is for certain.
      Thank you so much for sharing with me. you bless me so!
      All for Him,

  3. Wanted to cry when I was reading this post. It reminded me of my pains years back. I lost someone that I’ve been with for six years. And, then a year after, my Grandmother died. I believe at first you have to grieve and let go, then everything will be okay. You have to trust in God no matter how the moment seem too painful to even understand whatever is going on in your life. In the end, God will pull you up and make you even more stronger than you already are. Thank you for sharing such a touching post. 🙂

    • Thank you for sharing a bit of your hard journey with me. I’m so sorry you have experienced such loss, but am thrilled to know you have given it to God! Going through the grief is so hard, but so necessary. For then we can let go and let God…Let Him make sense of it all.
      All for Him,

  4. I’ve been there. I remember the day after my dad died and we were in the car on the way to pick out his casket…and it was sunny. People were walking and laughing and singing…and my world felt like it had just ended.

    God allows us a time to mourn…but also promises a time to dance – and that is the promise that I cling to when the darkness seems overwhelming. He has promised us a time to DANCE!

    • Oh to dance! Yes!
      I’m so sorry you had to say the hard goodbye to your dad, Aurie. But am so thrilled to know you have found the One to cling to through it! What a testament you are. So proud to call you friend ; )

    • I’ve asked myself the same question, Jamie….why we feel we need to hide it when really it is a gift from Him! The ability to grieve and to mourn. And it’s a powerful thing when we take it to Him, isn’t it…
      Thank you so much for sharing with me! (and welcome back!)
      All for Him,

  5. Pingback: Love in Grief « simplystriving

  6. so much hope here…yes, to His resurrection and yes, to how He turns our grief into joy…like you said on my blog, we do seem to be tracking each other…great post, Nikki…hugs to you 🙂

  7. Ours is a hard culture in which to go through the pain of loss. I think we as a people don’t know how to grieve. If people are just laughing and happy or want you to get over it yesterday because (others’) grief is inconvenient and uncomfortable for them, we may try to stuff or stifle or hide the grief. But boy, those Bible people knew how to: tore their robes, wailed and carried on. That just won’t go over well here and now, but oh the sweet times alone with Him when we can just let loose the tears and know He cares, weeps with us, and transforms the pain to wisdom, compassion, and,,, yes, joy.

  8. One of the largest sources of grief for me has been the brain infection that left my 3rd daughter with a global developmental delay and many quirks. I asked the Lord to show me how this was a blessing, and lo and behold, He did! Now we celebrate all the little ways she is unique (many a result of that infection), and she adds a wonderful sparkle to our family that we wouldn’t have if she had never gotten sick. While there are still days I worry about her future, and many many hours spent in PT/OT/Speech trying to help her catch up developmentally, the grief is softened immensely by the thanksgiving.

    • Love how God showed you the hidden blessing, Genevieve! Oh how He loves your daughter…so thrilled to know you delight in her the way He does. Thank you so much for sharing with me. I’m touched by your journey.

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