After my wife died a year ago, I just quit going to church because it was too painful seeing her old friends and having people ask me how I was doing. Was it wrong for me to drop out of church?


Some time ago, a friend of mine said that he had found recovering from the death of a loved one was somewhat like recovering from major surgery: Both are painful, and both take time. I can understand this even better since the death of my own wife this past year.

But recovering from grief is like recovering from surgery in another way: Eventually we need to take steps to overcome our grief. If you’ve had major surgery, it’s natural (and advisable) to stay in bed most of the time; your body needs to rest. You may not have much of an appetite either. But what happens if you never force yourself to get up, or you never eat a decent meal? You know the answer: You’ll never regain your strength or recover.

This is one reason why I urge you to reconnect with your church. You need to know that others care, and you also need to resume some of the activities you once enjoyed. No, it may not be easy at first – but it’s important, and little by little your grief will begin to fade. You may even be able to help others in your church who are passing through the same heartache.

But I also urge you to reconnect with your church because it can help you put your focus on God and His love for you, even in the midst of your grief. Jesus’ promise is for you: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. … Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).