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Seasons of Sorrow: The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God

Seasons of Sorrow is an honest look at grief and fears, faith and hope. Combining personal narrative, sound theology, and the best writing I am capable of, this is a book for anyone who has loved and lost.

On November 3, 2020, Aileen and I received the shocking news that our son Nick had died. A twenty-year-old student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, he had been participating in a school activity with his fiancée, sister, and friends, when he fell unconscious and collapsed to the ground.

Neither students nor a passing doctor nor paramedics were able to revive him. We received the news at our home in Toronto and immediately departed for Louisville to be together as a family. While on the plane, I began to process my loss through writing. In Seasons of Sorrow, I share real-time reflections from the first year of grief—through the seasons from fall to summer—introducing readers to what I describe as the “ministry of sorrow.”

It is my sincere hope that Seasons of Sorrow will benefit both those that are working through sorrow or those comforting others:

  • See how God is sovereign over loss and that he is good in loss
  • Discover how you can pass through times of grief while keeping your faith
  • Learn how biblical doctrine can work itself out even in life’s most difficult situations
  • Understand how it is possible to love God more after loss than you loved him before



  • A Letter to Parents – This is a letter I have prepared addressed to parents who have lost a child. If you plan to give bereaved parents a copy of Seasons of Sorrow, you may like to print this and include it with the book.
  • Application Questions & Group Study Guide – This free guide is for people who are reading it individually and wish to consider application questions and for groups who are reading it together and looking for a reading plan as well as discussion questions.
  • Helpful Things To Say To Grieving Parents – If you are walking through the loss of a child with a friend or family member, this article will help you know how you can best serve them in their darkest hour.


If ever there was a book Tim Challies needed to write, it’s this one. And it’s a book I needed to read. Within these pages, you will do more than enter Tim’s story of enormous loss; you will come out on the other side having gained a softer heart and a renewed courage to persevere through your own dark seasons of affliction.

Joni Eareckson Tada, founder of the Joni and Friends International Disability Center

Seasons of Sorrow cut straight to my soul. I read it within a few weeks of the unexpected deaths of two close friends and while my wife struggles bravely with stage 4 cancer. Tim’s heartfelt pain and Christ-centered perspective spoke to both my heart and my head.

Randy Alcorn, author of Heaven and If God Is Good

Believers need this book, and only Tim Challies could have written it. I am so thankful that Nick was a student at Boyce College, and his influence as a young Christian was remarkable.

Albert and Mary Mohler

If you have lost a loved one to death, as everyone has, or if you have buried a child, as many have, Tim Challies is your friend. Your brother. Your lifeline.

Robert and Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, bestselling authors

Seasons of Sorrow is a beautiful book. Reading it is like holding a precious gift, like standing on holy ground.

Paul David Tripp, pastor, speaker, author of New Morning Mercies and Suffering: Gospel Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

Tim Challies has taken us into his confidence by writing with such self-searching honesty. It is a painful pleasure to be invited into these sacred moments of grief and to be helped by the reminder that God is too kind ever to be cruel and too wise ever to make a mistake.

Alistair Begg, senior pastor, Parkside Church, and host of the Truth for Life radio program

In the pages of this book, grieving people will find companionship, insight, and genuine encouragement for the journey.

Nancy Guthrie, author of Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow and cohost of Respite Retreat for grieving parents

This book is brilliant, not because of Tim Challies’s eloquence, but because of his tears! The buoyancy of faith that shines from every page often left me teary-eyed, thanking God for his grace to his people during their darkest times. What priceless grace!

Conrad Mbewe, pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church and founding chancellor of the African Christian University