Near to the Broken-Hearted: The Comfort of Jesus in the Grief of Losing a Child – Dan Martin and Anna Martin with Chris Mouring

Near to the Broken-Hearted: The Comfort of Jesus in the Grief of Losing a Child by Dan Martin, Anna Martin, Chris Mouring
Published by Good Book Company on July 1, 2023
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Parenting
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Biblical help and hope for bereaved parents.

This book has been written to help heartbroken parents know and feel the nearness and tenderness of God when they are facing the loss of a child. It takes long, satisfying looks at truths and stories from the Bible, helping you to know and be comforted by God the Father as he walks with you through your darkest seasons.

The authors write with honesty, experience and compassion to encourage those who are crushed in spirit to lean heavily on Jesus. They give lots of practical advice on processing and praying through grief as well as clarity on some of the difficult questions raised by this kind of suffering.

Readers can choose whichever chapters are most relevant to their situation. There is something here for those who have just heard the news that their child is very ill, and for those who lost a child some time ago; for those who are asking painful questions, and for those seeking practical advice; for mothers carrying a pregnancy that will likely end in loss, and for family members wondering how to help their loved ones in their grief.

Every situation is different, but our Lord Jesus is always the same—and he has a special, tender nearness to the broken-hearted.

At the beginning of this book, Dan and Anna Martin share their story about losing one of their twins shortly after birth. They share about their experiences grieving their son’s diagnosis and eventual death, and about the journey they have taken as as result. The Martins use their story as a touchstone for many universal experiences of loss, such as dealing with anticipatory grief, dealing with a new loss, and continuing to grieve over the passage of time. This book also includes a chapter from Chris Mouring, a father who lost a young adult son in a tragic accident. I am thankful that this book includes that chapter, since so many resources about child loss are only about the deaths of unborn babies, infants, and very young children.

Near to the Broken-Hearted: The Comfort of Jesus in the Grief of Losing a Child will encourage and minister to grieving Christian parents in a variety of circumstances. The authors are very honest and vulnerable about what they have been through, and they offer spiritual comfort without platitudes or shallow ideas. They write about the traumatic and long-lasting effects of child loss while also reflecting on the comfort that God can bring, and as they unpack Bible verses and spiritual concepts throughout the book, they show how their beliefs have grounded them in the storm of grief. Some of the chapters also end with lists of practical recommendations for dealing with life after loss, and the authors emphasize the importance of recognizing your limitations and giving yourself grace as you grieve.

Dan and Anna Martin share deep reflections on how Jesus has sustained them, comforted them, and given them hope, and they write about a variety of different circumstances that parents may find themselves in. They acknowledge people who are dealing with recent losses and processing ones from long ago, and they encourage parents that every child’s life matters, even if they die in the womb or shortly after, and even if they have a grievous prenatal diagnosis. The authors also address common questions that people ask, such as why God didn’t heal their child and what happens to babies and little children when they die. This book isn’t primarily about theology, but the Martins don’t shy away from engaging with hard questions.

Near to the Broken-Hearted is a wonderful resource for grieving Christian parents. No one ever wants to need a book like this, but this one is particularly wise and helpful. The authors avoid sentimentality and platitudes, and when they share advice for dealing with thoughtless and hurtful remarks from other people, they write with a spirit of grace instead of bitterness. They also include a helpful chapter for people who want to better support grieving loved ones and are often grieving in their own way. This book is a gentle, caring, and honest guide, and I highly recommend it to bereaved parents and their support systems.