God’s heart for the grieving

By Tracey Ware, Bethel Funerals  |  Wycliffe Today Christmas 2023 |

If I asked you to name groups you see as ‘marginalised’ in today’s world, who would make it onto your list? Refugees fleeing a war-torn country? People living in a drought-ravaged country? Children unable to attain basic education? 

I wonder how many of us would have written down those experiencing grief and loss. Yet for our team at Bethel Funerals, we know it to be true that grieving people at times feel marginalised. Grief and loss are something we all experience at different times but that does not reduce death’s sting. When the death of a loved one occurs, families often experience feelings of isolation, fear and hopelessness. They are thrown into an unknown world, faced with many decisions and often feel on the ‘margins’. 

Bethel Funerals was established in 1997 by Wycliffe Australia’s Word Investments to make money for missions and minister to grieving people. Bethel Funerals continues to live out this goal, offering Christlike care to grieving families. We seek to communicate to the grieving that they are not alone, that God sees them and cares about them. Yet I would like to suggest that we ALL have a role to play in helping those experiencing grief and loss feel less isolated.

How? Here are a few practical suggestions:

  • SAY SOMETHING. It’s okay to say ‘I don’t know what to say but I am here and I care about you.’ We don’t have to have all the answers! 
    • ACKNOWLEDGE their loss. You can say things such as, ‘Sorry for your loss. I am thinking of you, I am here if you want to talk.’ 
    • PRAY with them or for them, if appropriate.
    • SIT in silence with them. Being with someone is a powerful antidote to feeling isolated and on the periphery.
    • DON’T MINIMISE the pain or loss with statements such as, ‘they lived a good life’, ‘they’ve gone to a better place’ or ‘they are at peace now.’ These things may all be true but they do not help.
  • NAME the person who has died. Those grieving love to hear others speak the name of their loved one, as it acknowledges that they aren’t forgotten.  

The next time you know someone who has lost a loved one, remember that you can play a role in expressing God’s heart for them in the midst of their grief.  

Tracey Ware works with Bethel Funerals in the area of Community Engagement.

Bethel Funerals is a not-for-profit Christian funeral company which to date has given away $5.71m. Wycliffe Australia is a key beneficiary of these funds. For more information about Bethel, go to

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