After the Funeral ...
My wife, Amy, died on September 11, 2016. After she died, after the funeral, after weeks of relentless sorrow, I finally begged our friends for help.
“I'm looking for 100 Scriptures to encourage me while I trudge lead-footed through this awful, (seemingly) never-ending time of sorrow,” I posted on Facebook. “I'd like to print them out and read a new one each day, all day, for 100 days. Will you share your favorites with me?”
And they did.
I found more Scriptures from Amy herself, left behind for me in the green journal she kept in the months before she died. And I added a few of my own favorites as well. I collected them all, printed them on cards, and kept those cards always close by me. I have drunk from that well of Scripture every day since, reading my cards several times a day, sometimes journaling my thoughts, sometimes praying God’s Word through my own mouth...sometimes just crying as I read because I don’t have the strength to do anything more.
One day during those first 100 days after the funeral, I sat in a grief support group, weeping, watching and listening to the pain of others like me. I said to the Lord, “Somebody needs to do something to help these people. To help people like me.” In that moment Jesus seemed to whisper. “Maybe ‘somebody’ is you.”
And so, a few terrible months later, I took my Scripture cards, sorted out 100 of them, and put them into one place so I could share them with somebody who is heartbroken. Somebody like me. Somebody like you.
At first I printed them out, cut them up, and put them into 100 envelopes. I gave them to friends (too many friends) who faced the loss of someone deeply loved. “Open the first enveloped on the day of the funeral,” I’d say. “If it helps, keep opening one envelope a day until you run out. Maybe sometime over the next 100 days one thing in here will be grace enough when you need it for that moment.”
Then I found I couldn’t keep up with all the printing and cutting and enveloping, so I deleted my journal reflections on these Scriptures and did what I hope is the next best thing.
I’ve put those 100 Scriptures onto this website. I hope you find in them the grace that you seek, that we all need. Amen.
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in distress.
Tears blur my eyes.
My body and soul are withering away.
I am dying from grief;
my years are shortened by sadness.
Sin has drained my strength;
I am wasting away from within.
Psalm 31:9-10 NLT
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Psalm 16:8 ESV
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
Psalm 91:2 NLT
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3 NIV
He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down…
Isaiah 53:3-4 NLT
You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?
When I cry out to You,
Then my enemies will turn back;
This I know, because God is for me.
Psalm 56:8-9 NKJV
Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.
Psalm 16:1 NIV
Lord, listen and be gracious to me;
Lord, be my helper.”
Psalm 30:10 HCSB
Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his faithful servants.
Psalm 116:15 NIV
The Lord is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him
Nahum 1:7 NIV
Because he bends down to listen,
I will pray as long as I have breath
Psalm 116:2 NLT
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Matthew 5:4 NET Bible
My tears flow endlessly;
they will not stop
until the LORD looks down
from heaven and sees.
Lamentations 3:49-50 NLT
In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings.
Romans 8:26 HCSB
The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!”
The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
Psalm 116:3-5 NIV
My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to Your word.
Psalm 119:28 NKJV
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
Psalm 121:1-4 NASB
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1 NLT
Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
Psalm 55:22 NASB
I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.
Psalm 139:7-10 NLT
Good people pass away;
the godly often die before their time.
But no one seems to care or wonder why.
No one seems to understand
that God is protecting them from the evil to come.
For those who follow godly paths
will rest in peace when they die.
Isaiah 57:1-2 NLT
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.
Isaiah 42:16 NIV
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To comfort all who mourn,
Isaiah 61:1-2 NKJV
You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Psalm 16:11 NASB
I look for your deliverance, Lord.
Genesis 49:18 NIV
Don’t leave me all alone, Lord!
Please, my God, don’t be far from me!
Come quickly and help me,
my Lord, my salvation!
Psalm 38:21-22 CEB
In panic I cried out,
“I am cut off from the Lord!”
But you heard my cry for mercy
and answered my call for help.
Psalm 31:22 NLT
Oh, I must find rest in God only,
because my hope comes from him!
Only God is my rock and my salvation—
my stronghold!—I will not be shaken.
My deliverance and glory depend on God.
God is my strong rock.
My refuge is in God.
Psalm 62:5-7 CEB
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord
Even as we put our hope in you.
Psalm 33:22 NIV
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Isaiah 40:29 NKJV
I will praise the Lord at all times;
my mouth will continually praise him.
Psalm 34:1 NET Bible
My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.
Psalm 119:50 NIV
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles.
Psalm 34:17 NET Bible
“And the Lord will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
Isaiah 58:11 NASB
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
The righteous person faces many troubles,
but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
Psalm 34:18-19 NET Bible
O God, hear my cry for help!
Pay attention to my prayer!
From the most remote place on earth
I call out to you in my despair.
Lead me up to a rocky summit where I can be safe!
Indeed, you are my shelter,
a strong tower that protects me from the enemy.
Psalm 61:1-3 NET Bible
I will lead them.
I will comfort those who mourn,
bringing words of praise to their lips.
May they have abundant peace, both near and far,”
says the Lord, who heals them.
The Lord helps the fallen
and lifts those bent beneath their loads.
The Lord is close to all who call on him,
yes, to all who call on him in truth.
Psalm 145:14, 18 NLT
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
Psalm 138:7 NASB
The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
The Lord helps them and delivers them.
Psalm 37:39-40a NIV
Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 ESV
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous…
Psalm 1:6 NIV
Why am I so depressed?
Why this turmoil within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him,
my Savior and my God.
Psalm 43:5 HCSB
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7 NIV
Then David continued, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.
1 Chronicles 28:20a NLT
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
Psalm 121:5-7 ESV
For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing.
Jeremiah 31:25 NLT
God is our refuge and strength,
a helper who is always found
in times of trouble.
Therefore we will not be afraid,
though the earth trembles
and the mountains topple
into the depths of the seas,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with its turmoil
Psalm 46:1-3 HCSB
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
He has said, I will never leave you or abandon you. This is why we can confidently say,
The Lord is my helper,
and I won’t be afraid.
What can people do to me?
Hebrews 13:5b-6 CEV
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5 NKJV
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”
Psalm 16:2 NIV
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.”
Isaiah 41:13 ESV
Whenever I am afraid,
I will trust in You.
In God (I will praise His word),
In God I have put my trust;
I will not fear.
What can flesh do to me?
Psalm 56:3-4 NKJV
Jesus said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me.”
John 14:1 NCV
Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing.
Psalm 126:5-6 NKJV
Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me.
Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.
For troubles surround me—
too many to count!
My sins pile up so high
I can’t see my way out.
They outnumber the hairs on my head.
I have lost all courage.
Please, Lord, rescue me!
Come quickly, Lord, and help me.
Psalm 40:11-13 NLT
The Lord pays attention to the godly
and hears their cry for help.
Psalm 34:15 NET Bible
He will shelter you with his wings;
you will find safety under his wings.
His faithfulness is like a shield or a protective wall.
You need not fear the terrors of the night
Psalm 91:4-5a NET Bible
Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and…Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”
John 11:32-33, 35-37 ESV
That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love him.”
1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT
Be my rock of refuge,
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
Psalm 71:3 NIV
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:28-19 NKJV
Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
save me, and I shall be saved,
for you are my praise.
Jeremiah 17:14 ESV
The end of a matter is better than its beginning;
Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.
Do not be eager in your heart to be angry,
For anger resides in the bosom of fools.
Ecclesiastes 7:8-9 NASB
Be careful what you think,
because your thoughts run your life.
Proverbs 4:23 NCV
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:15-16 NASB
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8 NIV
For You have delivered my soul from death.
Have You not kept my feet from falling,
That I may walk before God
In the light of the living?
Psalm 56:13 NKJV
Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.
Psalm 73:25-26 NLT
But You, O Lord, are a shield about me,
My glory, and the One who lifts my head.
Psalm 3:3 NASB
The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace.
Psalm 29:11 NCV
I will be with you always, even until the end of this age.
Matthew 28:20b NCV
Yet I call this to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for His mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness!
I say: The Lord is my portion,
therefore I will put my hope in Him.
Lamentations 3:21-24 HCSB
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:13-14 NASB
But God knows the way that I take, and when he has tested me, I will come out like gold.
Job 23:10-13 NCV
The Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your days of sorrow will end.
Isaiah 60:20b NIV
It is good to wait quietly
for deliverance from the Lord.
Lamentations 3:26 HCSB
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
Psalm 40:1-2 NLT
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NKJV
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.
Psalm 63:7-8 NIV
Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to you.
Psalm 143:8 NLT
Now let your unfailing love comfort me,
just as you promised me, your servant.
Surround me with your tender mercies so I may live,
for your instructions are my delight.
Psalm 119:76-77 NLT
Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.
Psalm 73:23-24 NLT
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
1 Peter 5:10 NASB
There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.
Proverbs 23:18 NIV
“…To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
Isaiah 61:3 NKJV
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”
Revelation 21:4-5 NLT
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.
Romans 8:18 NLT
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Romans 5:3-5 NLT
Christ himself is our peace.
Ephesians 2:14a NCV
“The mountains may disappear,
and the hills may come to an end,
but my love will never disappear;
my promise of peace will not come to an end,”
says the Lord who shows mercy to you.
Isaiah 54:10 NCV
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Psalm 16:5-6 NIV
This suffering person cried out:
the Lord listened and saved him from every trouble.
Psalm 34:6 CEB
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
For no one is abandoned
by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion
because of the greatness of his unfailing love.
For he does not enjoy hurting people
or causing them sorrow.
Lamentations 3:31-33 NLT
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Romans 12:15 ESV
Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about those Christians who have died so you will not be sad, as others who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and that he rose again. So, because of him, God will raise with Jesus those who have died.
So encourage each other with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, 18 NCV
Foreword, from James Taylor
Twas the Night Before Disneyland…
Does Your Husband Love You?
You Look Like Hell
Ring the Bell
Maybe It’s Pneumonia…
Fullness of Joy
Afterword, from Pete Docter
Appendix: Letters from Amy
About the Authors
If You’d Like More…
Read more chapters now at HarvestHousePublishers.com