How to Handle the Worst News of Your Life

Grieving, they say, is a process, not an event. Whatever face the loss wears--a death, a relationship, a dream, a wayward child, you may experience some or all of the steps listed here. I pray you'll allow God to carry you all the way through to #15.

1. Cry. Sob your guts out. Sob as if your heart is breaking, because it is. Sob as if something precious has been taken from you, for it has. Sob until you have no more tears.

2. Rest. 

3. Repeat. At unpredictable intervals, at unexpected triggers, and in inappropriate places. Grief is appropriate, healthy, and necessary when you've lost something precious.

4. Ask why. Why me? Why them? Why now? Why this? If someone has hurt you, ask them why. And because you know everything that enters your life comes through God’s hands, ask him, too.

5. Get angry. At the source and at God (see #2). I served you faithfully. I followed all the rules. I sacrificed for you. I trusted you. 

6. Doubt. Doubt everything you’ve ever trusted, everything you’ve ever heard, everything you’ve ever read, taught, preached, and believed. And when you’ve paused for a moment from crying, asking, yelling, and doubting,

7. Be still and listen. Listen to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit that whispers . . . whispers . . . to your heart and to your head. Listen to the truth you’ve stored up in your soul for such a time as this:

God has never left you, and he will not leave you now (Hebrews 13:5).

God still does miracles (Matt 16:7-10).

God has a purpose and a plan, and you are part of it (Jeremiah 29:11).

God spares nothing in his persistent, relentless quest to draw mankind to himself, including those around you. He’ll use everything at his disposal to accomplish it—your hopes, dreams, and perhaps your very life (Luke 15:20).

God says no because he has a greater purpose in mind than what your puny mind can imagine or comprehend (1 Cor. 2:9).

8. Dig deep into God’s Word and consume it like a starving man finding bread. When you open your eyes to a new day and realize the nightmare that always vanished with the dawn has instead crawled into bed with you, go first to His table. Take the nightmare with you. Feed it God’s Word.

9. Peel back the layers of death and destruction and find the things for which you can be thankful. They’re there—like tiny sprigs after a raging wildfire. Write them down. Every day. By faith, not feeling. And then give thanks. Not because you feel thankful, but because you are called to. “In everything give thanks. . . in EVERYthing give thanks. . . in everyTHING give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thess. 5:18).

10. Claim God’s promises. Journal them. Write your name in the blanks.

 “For God so loved ________ that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16).

“He who spared not his own Son, but gave him up for ________, how will he not also give her all things?” (Rom. 8:32).

"When you pass through the waters, ________, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Is. 43:2).

"You, ________, who sow in tears will reap in joy. You, who go forth bearing precious seed, will doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing your sheaves with you” (Psalm 126:5).

“The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come that ________ might have life, and that more abundantly” (John 10:10).

11. Submit.

 “Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

12. Surrender. 

"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God . . .” (John 11:27).

13. Trust. 

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in you” (Job 13:15).

14. Accept the assignment. 

 Henry Blackaby, in his book, Experiencing God Day by Day, says this: “Why then, did the Father refuse (Jesus’) request? It was not due to any sin in Jesus’ life, nor was it because the Father did not love His Son. The Father said no, despite the unfathomable love He had for His Son, because He knew He could not spare His Son and save the world. Likewise, the Lord cannot always spare you and your family and complete His redemptive work in those around you."

Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).

Without a death, there can be no resurrection. Without a resurrection, there can be no salvation. “Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" (John 11:40).

15. Accept God’s grace to move forward.

 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness . . . ” (2 Cor. 12:9).
And this is how you handle the worst news of your life. 


If you enjoyed this post, you might want to read "When Your Soul Is Drowning."

If you enjoyed this devotion, may I tell you about my new book, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women?

 Today's women want to connect with God, but in the craziness of life, it’s just not happening. You want practical, biblical answers to situations you face every day, but you don’t have hours to pore over Scripture.

You need a resource that answers the questions you’re afraid to ask out loud. Questions like:

• Is my situation hopeless?
• If God already knows what he’s going to do, why bother to pray? 
• Why have you allowed this to happen to me? 
• No one appreciates what I do. Why shouldn’t I quit? 

Each devotion begins with a Facetime question and ends with a biblical answer wrapped in a modern day parable. Like a spiritual power bar, Hungry for God … Starving for Time is packed with enough scriptural nutrition to get you through the day. Wherever you are—in break rooms, carpool lines, or wherever you can snatch five minutes of quiet reflection—Hungry for God … Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women is for you. 

If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe? I'll send you twice-weekly 5-minute devotions to help nourish your soul. 
Because women need to connect with God in the craziness of life. 

Enter your email address and VALIDATE the Feedburner email sent to your inbox.

Delivered by FeedBurner

Hungry for God is on Facebook! Will you take a moment and LIKE my page? CLICK HERE to help HFG share 5-minute devotions.




  1. Thanks so much for this, Lori. I don't know if I'm just in denial, but I really don't feel sorry for myself or question "why" this has happened. I've prayed for many years that God would enlarge my territory (my blog/ministry) and I do believe this may be one very specific way He's doing that. Now I'll be able to relate to the women who've gone through this (and there are SO many) and I'll understand the challenges couples face that have a cancer diagnosis to grapple with. But you're prayers and encouragement are greatly appreciated!

    1. It's true, Beth, that when we accept what God allows into our lives, he often births a depth and breadth of ministry we'd never have otherwise. Beth Moore has often said, "Our greatest tragedy can become our greatest ministry." I'm praying right now and asking the Lord to expand your borders, heal your body, and give you wisdom to share with those who are walking a similar path. Blessings to you, friend.

  2. Thank you, Lori, for not sugar-coating pain, grief, and difficult challenges, but allowing for feelings and ultimately taking us directly to God's Word. Well written and full of practical, biblical and hopeful encouragement.

  3. I keep coming back to read this, over and over. As much as I think I've been through each of the "steps" of my grief, I find myself moving backwards and forwards. I'm not in a horrible place, I'm actually in a good place, but some moments bring it all back and I'm at #1 again. Thank you for this beautiful piece. I've shared it with friends.

    1. Thank you, Lynn, for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I appreciate what you've discovered through your own experience --- that we never really "get over" grief, we just move forward. And backward, and forward, and backward. . . ., but we heal, by God's grace. I've noticed in my own experience, that even though we sometimes find ourselves crying as though it just happened, it gets a little easier each time. Blessings to you, friend.

  4. I'm sorry did you say get mad at God???????? I don't think so! What does that do? That's the worst thing you can do.

    1. HI Danielle,
      Yes, I did. My post was an attempt to describe, empathize with, and demonstrate the wide range of thoughts and emotions that go through our heads and hearts when we are in the midst of a great trial. While not all the emotions are helpful or productive, they are real human expressions of grief.

      We see godly men in the Bible who experienced these--anger, hurt, frustration, and doubt--when they walked through intense periods of suffering. Job, Elijah, Hezekiah, and David, the one described as "a man after God's own heart," are only a few examples.

      If you followed the thread of my post all the way to the end, you saw how human emotions are ultimately trumped by spiritual truth when we submit our wills to God's and surrender and trust. This is the spiritual, godly, supernatural response ( in contrast to the human responses of tears, anger, and doubt) to a great trial, and one we can all experience through the power of the Holy Spirit.

      Thank for stopping by, commenting, and allowing me to clarify. I hope my response is helpful.

      Blessings to you.

  5. Thank you for this post. It is an honest look at pain and at how to deal within the limitations of our humanity while at the same time, keeping our eyes focused on the Divine. Acceptance and obedience through the trials without losing Hope because we remain connected to the Source of all hope and love. Knowing that He's got us and will never let go. Knowing that He walks with us through the fires and that He finds us in the storm because He is the One that the winds and the waves obey. Thank you so much. God Bless!

  6. Dear Lori, your devotions are such a blessing! Is there any way you can put them on Pinterest, or are they in your book? Thank you! Melody Ambler