5 Names of God to Know When Struggling With Grief
If you’ve had a loved one die, you know the pain of grief, and you’ve also brushed up against the great mystery of life. What is this immaterial essence or spirit that animates us? Where did it come from? And where does it go when we’re gone?
If you or a loved one are experiencing the grieving process, you can reflect on the names of God that will shed light, truth, and comfort.
1. Elohim Shama: The God Who Hears
“God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.”–Exodus 2:24
Like that faithful friend who puts all else aside when we show up with a need, God takes us by the hand, locks His gaze on us, and gives us His undivided attention. Psalm 17:6 assures us God is an active listener. But He doesn’t merely hear our words; He is also moved by the unvoiced groanings of our hearts (Romans 8:26).
How encouraging to know that in Christ, God is completely empathetic to our human struggles (Hebrews 4:14–16). Because He knows us intimately (Psalm 139:1), because He listens attentively to us, and because He loves us perfectly, we can rest assured that He will always meet our needs (Philippians 4:19). Even when no one else seems to be paying attention, you can trust that God hears the cries of your heart.
2. Jehovah Uzzi: The Lord My Strength
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”–Psalm 28:7
Are you out of gas today? Look to the Lord. And even if you’re not physically spent or feeling emotionally weary today, look to God. Trust in His power to “make it through the day” or ask for His strength to fill you and animate you so that you might have the power to live and speak for Him (Acts 1:8). Ask for strength to resist sin and make a difference in the lives of others. And thank God for His ability “to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).
3. Elohim Qarob: God is Near
“What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?”–Deuteronomy 4:7
Are you facing discouraging realities? Here are some encouraging truths:
- God is with you (even if you can’t see or feel His presence).
- God is all-powerful and sovereign. He’s in control (even if that doesn’t seem true).
- God’s nature is love and His heart is good (even when things don’t look that way).
4. Rum Rosh: The One Who Lifts My Head
According to David, God is the Friend who lifts our head. David knew what it was to be depressed and overwhelmed. He understood sadness and grief. He was familiar with guilt, shame, and pain. But he also knew what it was like to have God take him by the chin, lift his head, and offer hope.
God tenderly lifts our heads, looks in our eyes, exalts us, and lets us know we are not alone.
5. Shub Nephesh: Renewer of Life
“He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”–Ruth 4:15
God doesn’t just animate us physically; He also desires to see us come alive spiritually. He wants to renew our lives, to give us eternal life—that is, a life that consists of knowing Him through Jesus Christ (see John 17:3). Jesus insisted He came to offer His followers life “to the full” (John 10:10). The idea should evoke imagery of a life impossibly abundant, incredibly rich, and sloshing over with blessing regardless of our the ups and downs of life.
Why Should I Study God’s Names?
For a lot (if not ALL) of the same reasons you need to study the Bible! Learning the names of God is not just an academic experience. It’s not like memorizing flashcards or a recipe by heart. It’s a fluid and transformative experience. Learning God’s names changes you from the inside out. It’s a study we should continue throughout our lives, in all seasons.
Become more acquainted with God’s character and nature through his names. It’s like spending time with a friend or a loved one. You start seeing his hand in your life circumstances, whether it’s his providence, mercy, justice, love, or friendship. It’s a key to understanding the great plan he has for your life. It’s essential to knowing who you are and what you were made for. Who better to ask than God Himself!
Christopher D. Hudson has contributed to over fifty Bible projects, sixty study guides and over a hundred books. He has also served as managing editor for best-selling Bibles such as: The Love Languages Devotional Bible with Gary Chapman (Moody); Inspirational Bible with Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson); and the Case for Christ Study Bible with Lee Strobel (Zondervan). He is a graduate from Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL) and is an active teacher in his church for over twenty years. He is from Chicago, IL, where he resides with his wife and three children.
God has many names in the Bible and each name shows a different aspect of God. For example, “Adonai” means “The Lord” or “My Great Lord”; “El Roi” means “The God Who Sees Me”; and “YHWH” means “”I AM,” The One Who Is” or “The Self-Existent One”. The Names of God eChart from Rose Publishing contains 10 different Names of God, the meaning and application for each name, as well as Bible references where the name can be found. The Names of God eChart is a great study tool to help you better understand the God of the Bible. Download NOW.