Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2


Chapter 49—Grief

Breaks Down the Life-forces—Grief, anxiety, discontent, remorse, guilt, distrust, all tend to break down the life-forces and to invite decay and death.... Courage, hope, faith, sympathy, love, promote health and prolong life.—The Ministry of Healing, 241 (1905). 2MCP 458.1

Impairs Circulation—Sadness deadens the circulation in the blood vessels and nerves and also retards the action of the liver. It hinders the process of digestion and of nutrition, and has a tendency to dry up the marrow [interior substance] of the whole system.—Letter 1, 1883. 2MCP 458.2

Cannot Remedy a Single Evil—While grief and anxiety cannot remedy a single evil, they can do great harm; but cheerfulness and hope, while they brighten the pathway of others, “are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh” (Proverbs 4:22).—ST, Feb 12, 1885. (The Adventist Home, 431.) 2MCP 458.3

Every Situation Provided For—We are not to let the future, with its hard problems, its unsatisfying prospects, make our hearts faint, our knees tremble, our hands hang down. “Let him take hold of My strength,” says the Mighty One, “that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me” (Isaiah 27:5). Those who surrender their lives to His guidance and to His service will never be placed in a position for which He has not made provision. Whatever our situation, if we are doers of His word, we have a Guide to direct our way; whatever our perplexity, we have a sure Counselor; whatever our sorrow, bereavement, or loneliness, we have a sympathizing Friend.—The Ministry of Healing, 248, 249 (1905). 2MCP 458.4

Anticipating Trouble Doubles Burdens—We are in a world of suffering. Difficulty, trial, and sorrow await us all along the way to the heavenly home. But there are many who make life's burdens doubly heavy by continually anticipating trouble. If they meet with adversity or disappointment, they think that everything is going to ruin, that theirs is the hardest lot of all, that they are surely coming to want. Thus they bring wretchedness upon themselves and cast a shadow upon all around them. Life itself becomes a burden to them. 2MCP 459.1

But it need not be thus. It will cost a determined effort to change the current of their thought. But the change can be made. Their happiness, both for this life and for the life to come, depends upon their fixing their minds upon cheerful things. Let them look away from the dark picture, which is imaginary, to the benefits which God has strewn in their pathway, and beyond these to the unseen and eternal.—The Ministry of Healing, 247, 248 (1905). 2MCP 459.2

Casting a Shadow—It is not wise to gather together all the unpleasant recollections of a past life—its iniquities and disappointments—to talk over them and mourn over them until we are overwhelmed with discouragement. A discouraged soul is filled with darkness, shutting out the light of God from his own soul and casting a shadow upon the pathway of others.—Steps to Christ, 117 (1892). 2MCP 459.3

Talk of Blessings, Less of Trials—The Lord's merciful kindness is great toward us. He will never leave nor forsake those who trust in Him. If we would think and talk less of our trials and more of the mercy and goodness of God, we would find ourselves raised above much of our gloom and perplexity. My brethren and sisters, you who feel that you are entering upon a dark path, and like the captives in Babylon must hang your harps upon the willows, let us make trial of cheerful song. 2MCP 459.4

You may say, How can I sing, with this dark prospect before me, with this burden of sorrow and bereavement upon my soul? But have earthly sorrows deprived us of the all-powerful Friend we have in Jesus? Should not the marvelous love of God in the gift of His dear Son be a theme of continual rejoicing? When we bring our petitions to the throne of grace, let us not forget to offer also anthems of thanksgiving. “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me” (Psalm 50:23). As long as our Saviour lives we have cause for unceasing gratitude and praise.—The Review and Herald, November 1, 1881. (Selected Messages 2:268, 269.) 2MCP 460.1

Turn From Uncontrollable Grief (counsel to a bereaved family)—Like Job, you felt that you had cause for grief and would not be comforted. Was this reasonable? You know that death is a power that none can resist, but you have made your lives nearly useless by your unavailing grief. Your feelings have been little less than rebellion against God. I saw you all dwelling upon your bereavement, and giving way to your excitable feelings, until your noisy demonstrations of grief caused angels to hide their faces and withdraw from the scene. 2MCP 460.2

While thus giving way to your feelings, did you remember that you had a Father in heaven who gave His only Son to die for us that death might not be an eternal sleep? Did you remember that the Lord of life and glory passed through the tomb and brightened it with His own presence? Said the beloved disciple: “Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” The apostle well knew what he was talking about when he wrote these words; but when you give way to uncontrollable grief, is your conduct consistent with the comfort which they express?—Testimonies for the Church 5:313 (1885). 2MCP 460.3

Dwelling Upon Oneself Is Selfishness (counsel to a grief-stricken minister)—Now Brother_____, it is a species of selfishness to keep your mind dwelling upon yourself. It is not at all like the apostle Paul, who was a man of infirmities, yet himself was the last subject of his thoughts. He had trials such as you have never experienced nor ever will be called upon to endure, and yet he turns away from these; he does not dwell upon them but magnifies the grace of God. 2MCP 461.1

Your wife was the subject of disease and death. Your grief was just as intense as all your other troubles. You hugged the grief to your bosom, you loved to dwell upon it, and you allowed your mind and thoughts to be selfishly occupied with your grief, and as a consequence your health suffered. Then your daughter's death was indeed a sad blow, but others have passed through the same under more trying circumstances. You allowed this affliction to unman you; you dwelt upon it, you talked of it, you aggravated your soul over a matter you could not change or help. It was a sin to take any of these afflictions as you have done. 2MCP 461.2

I know whereof I speak. If the mind is permitted to be clouded with grief, the food is not digested and as a result the system is not well nourished.—Letter 1, 1883. 2MCP 461.3

Grief Causes Blood to Rush to Brain (a personal experience)—While thus laboring in speaking and writing, I received letters of a discouraging character from Battle Creek. As I read them I felt an inexpressible depression of spirits, amounting to agony of mind, which seemed for a short period to palsy my vital energies. For three nights I scarcely slept at all. My thoughts were troubled and perplexed. 2MCP 461.4

I concealed my feelings as well as I could from my husband and the sympathizing family with whom we were. None knew my labor or burden of mind as I united with the family in morning and evening devotion and sought to lay my burden upon the great Burden Bearer. But my petitions came from a heart wrung with anguish, and my prayers were broken and disconnected because of uncontrollable grief. The blood rushed to my brain, frequently causing me to reel and nearly fall. I had the nosebleed often, especially after making an effort to write. I was compelled to lay aside my writing, but could not throw off the burden of anxiety and responsibility upon me.—Testimonies for the Church 1:576, 577 (1867). 2MCP 461.5

What to Do With Sorrow—Are you filled with sorrow today? Fasten your eyes on the Sun of righteousness. Do not try to adjust all the difficulties, but turn your face to the light, to the throne of God. What will you see there? The rainbow of the covenant, the living promise of God. Beneath it is the mercy seat, and whosoever avails himself of the provisions of mercy that have been made and appropriates the merits of the life and death of Christ has in the rainbow of the covenant a blessed assurance of acceptance with the Father as long as the throne of God endures. 2MCP 462.1

Faith is what you need. Do not let faith waver. Fight the good fight of faith and lay hold on eternal life. It will be a severe fight, but fight it at any cost, for the promises of God are yea and amen in Christ Jesus. Put your hand in the hand of Christ. There are difficulties to be overcome, but angels that excel in strength will cooperate with the people of God. Face Zion, press your way to the city of solemnities. A glorious crown and a robe woven in the loom of heaven await the overcomer. Though Satan would cast his hellish shadow athwart your pathway and seek to hide from your view the mystic ladder that stretches from earth to the throne of God, on which ascend and descend the angels who are ministering spirits to those who shall be heirs of salvation, yet press your way upward, plant your feet on one round after another, and advance to the throne of the Infinite.—Manuscript 66, 1895. 2MCP 462.2

Sympathizers Not Always Friends—If those around you are of that class who do not seek to turn your conversation and the current of your thoughts, if they sympathize with all your impressions as if they were a reality, the less you have of the society of this class the better. They are not your friends but your worst enemies. The Lord would have you be cheerful. 2MCP 463.1

You have buried dear friends; so have I; but I dare not ask, Why hast Thou cast me into the furnace? Why have I been afflicted again and again? The answer comes back to me down along the lines, “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter” (John 13:7). 2MCP 463.2

God's purposes are often veiled in mystery; they are incomprehensible to finite minds; but He who sees the end from beginning knows better than we. What we need is to cleanse us from earthliness, to perfect our Christian character, that the robe of Christ's righteousness shall be put upon us.—Letter 1, 1883. 2MCP 463.3

Work for Others Lessens Grief—The apostle lost sight of his own approaching sufferings in his solicitude for those whom he was about to leave to cope with prejudice, hatred, and persecution. The few Christians who accompanied him to the place of execution, he endeavored to strengthen and encourage by repeating the promises given for those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. He assured them that nothing would fail of all that the Lord had spoken concerning His tried and faithful children. 2MCP 463.4

For a little season they might be in heaviness through manifold temptation; they might be destitute of earthly comfort; but they could encourage their hearts with the assurance of God's faithfulness, saying, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him.” Soon the night of trial and suffering would come to an end, and then would dawn the glad morning of peace and perfect day.—The Review and Herald, January 4, 1912. 2MCP 463.5

The Best Comforters—Those who have borne the greatest sorrows are frequently the ones who carry the greatest comfort to others, bringing sunshine wherever they go. Such ones have been chastened and sweetened by their afflictions; they did not lose confidence in God when trouble assailed them, but clung closer to His protecting love. Such ones are a living proof of the tender care of God, who makes the darkness as well as the light, and chastens us for our good. Christ is the light of the world; in Him is no darkness. Precious light! Let us live in that light! Bid adieu to sadness and repining. “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice.”—The Health Reformer, October, 1877. (Selected Messages 2:274.) 2MCP 464.1

An Antidote for Grief—God has provided a balm for every wound. There is a balm in Gilead, there is a physician there. Will you not now as never before study the Scriptures? Seek the Lord for wisdom in every emergency. In every trial plead with Jesus to show you a way out of your troubles, then your eyes will be opened to behold the remedy and to apply to your case the healing promises that have been recorded in His Word. 2MCP 464.2

In this way the enemy will find no place to lead you into mourning and unbelief, but instead you will have faith and hope and courage in the Lord. The Holy Spirit will give you clear discernment that you may see and appropriate every blessing that will act as an antidote to grief, as a branch of healing to every draught of bitterness that is placed to your lips. Every draught of bitterness will be mingled with the love of Jesus, and in place of complaining of the bitterness you will realize that Jesus’ love and grace are so mingled with sorrow that it has been turned into subdued, holy, sanctified joy.—Letter 65a, 1894. (Selected Messages 2:273, 274.) 2MCP 464.3

Separation From God Brings Anguish of Soul—It was the anguish of separation from His Father's favor that made Christ's sufferings so acute. As the agony of soul came upon Him, “His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). His terrible anguish, caused by the thought that in this hour of need God had forsaken Him, portrays the anguish that the sinner will feel when, too late, he realizes that God's Spirit is withdrawn from him.—Manuscript 134, 1905. 2MCP 464.4

Understood When We Walk in Paradise—The earth has a history that man will never understand until he walks with his Redeemer in the paradise of God. “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelation 7:17).—Manuscript 28, 1898. 2MCP 465.1