When you miss people you love who have died, you may want to visit their graves to remember them. What does the Bible say about visiting graves? Visiting graves can comfort you in your grief and even inspire you in ways that strengthen your faith.
Why do we visit graves?
Since it is not really necessary to visit graves after the death of our loved ones, and sometimes going to a cemetery can trigger sadness or even fear, why do we visit graves? The reason is that visiting tombs is a type of spiritual pilgrimage. Funeral visitation helps us connect with God in a special place where we can find hope, healing and inspiration.
When you visit a grave to remember a deceased family member or friend, remember that their soul is not there, only their body. You should not attempt to communicate with them as praying to the dead is unreliable and can be dangerous. However, God will meet you there. God’s presence is always with you, as he promises that “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). Standing in front of a grave, you can focus on the presence of God and become more aware of it than you otherwise would have been. Most likely, you will be inspired to reach out to God in prayer at a grave as you struggle with the pain of grief and seek comfort during your bereavement. Graves are powerful reminders of the reality that our earthly lives are limited. Faced with the reality of your loved one’s life on earth ending, it is natural to think of heaven and hope that your loved one lives there with God. You will find that your attention is directed to God as well as your deceased loved one when you visit a grave. In my book Wake up to wonder, I describe how a pilgrimage to a specific place where you seek God with all your heart can help you encounter the wonder of God and feel awe. A grave is a powerful place to seek God. When you do, you will find it, for God promises in Jeremiah 29:13: “You will seek me and you will find me if you seek me with all your heart.”
Visiting a grave is also a reminder that your own earthly life will come to an end. Psalm 39:4-5 advises, “Show me, Lord, the end of my life and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the duration of my years is nothing before you. Everyone is just a breath away, even those who seem safe. As you reflect on this, you can think about the state of your relationship with God. Do you communicate regularly with God? Is your relationship with God your top priority, or have you let other activities distract you? Is there a sin in your life that you need to confess and repent of to enjoy a closer relationship with God? Do you have doubts that you should pray for, ask God to answer your questions and strengthen your faith? You can also think about what kind of legacy you want to leave behind, to help make the world a better place because you were here. Only God can help you do that, because God knows how long you have left to live and how you can best use that time to contribute to the world. A grave is an inspiring place to ask God to help you reach your goal, letting God’s love flow through your life and using the unique blend of talents God has given you.
What does the Bible say about visiting graves?
The Bible mentions visiting graves several times:
In the most famous biblical passage about visiting tombs, three women visit the tomb of Jesus after his resurrection. Mark 1-8 records: “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices to go and anoint the body of Jesus. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they went to the tomb and wondered, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very big, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t worry,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He got up ! He is not there. See where they put it. But go and tell his disciples and Peter: “He is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, as he told you. Trembling and bewildered, the women emerged and fled from the tomb. They didn’t tell anyone because they were afraid. This passage, which is part of the Easter story, describes how this group of women visited the tomb of Jesus to show him respect and love and were surprised by an angel there, who gave them a wonderful message about the miracle that had happened. Even though the angel urged them not to be alarmed, they still struggled to absorb what had happened.
The Bible also describes how Jesus visited the tomb of his friend Lazarus. John chapter 11 tells the story. Jesus mourns the death of Lazarus and weeps for the pain he feels (John 11:35). Then, before Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, Jesus brings Lazarus back to life (John 11:38-44). Jesus asks the sisters a key question in John 11:40: “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God? After showing their faith in God at their brother’s grave, Mary and Martha witnessed a miracle there – a miracle that has since strengthened the faith of countless others around the world.
Another biblical passage about visiting graves is Genesis 35:19-20, which describes how Jacob marks Rachel’s grave with a pillar. This passage details an ordinary gesture to honor a deceased loved one. Many people mark or decorate graves today.
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17 Encouraging Bible Verses About Those Who Have Died
The Bible includes many verses to help you when you mourn the loss of a loved one. Let these 17 verses inspire you:
John 11:25: “Jesus said unto him, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even if he dies. and whoever lives believing in me will never die. Do you believe that?’”
John 14:1-3: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; also believe in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you with me so that you too will be where I am.
Philippians 3:20-21: “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we look forward to a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that allows him to put everything under his control, will transform our humble bodies to be like his glorious body.
Romans 14:8: “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:51-57: “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all die, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must put on the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the word that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is law. But thank God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Psalm 116:15: “Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his saints. »
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. »
Psalm 23:1-6: “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me to the edge of tranquil waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me on the right paths because of his name. Though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me. You lay a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup is overflowing. Your lovingkindness and kindness will be with me all the days of my life, and I will dwell forever in the house of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 33:27: “The Eternal God is your refuge, and beneath are the eternal arms. »
Romans 8:35-39: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Is trouble or trial or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For you we face death all day long; we are seen as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, can separate us. of the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Isaiah 57:2: “Those who walk in integrity enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.
2 Corinthians 5:8: “We are confident, said I, and would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. »
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14: “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be misinformed about those who sleep in death, lest you be afflicted like the rest of mankind, who do not has no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4: “There is a time for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill. and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to cry and a time to laugh, a time to cry and a time to dance…”
Ecclesiastes 12:7: “and the dust returns to the ground whence it came, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”
Matthew 5:4: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. »
Revelation 21:4: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, weeping and pain will be no more, for the previous things are past.
Visiting the graves of your deceased family and friends can be a powerful spiritual pilgrimage. Although you cannot speak with your deceased loved ones there, you can reflect on their lives, honor their legacy, and pray. God will meet you at their graves to comfort you in your grief, strengthen your faith, and even marvel you.
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Whitney Hopler is the author of Wake up to wonder Wake Up to Wonder book and blog, which helps people thrive by experiencing wonder. She leads communications work at the Center for Advancing Wellness at George Mason University. Whitney has served as a writer, editor and web developer for leading media organizations including Crosswalk.com, Salvation Army national publications in the US and Dotdash.com (where she produced a channel popular on angels and miracles). She also wrote the children’s novel dream factory. Connect with Whitney on Twitter and Facebook.