SIGNS THAT THE SPIRIT OR ATTITUDE OF GRIEF IS GAINING A FOOTHOLD
I have noticed some symptoms which seem to appear in those who have chosen to rebel rather than to rebound from grief. Remember that rebelling comes as a result of allowing grief to retain a strong place in the heart.
1. Strange patterns begin to develop, like setting an extra place at the table for the loved one who has gone to Heaven.
2. A general overall sense of gloom, sadness, and hopelessness is on the countenance of the person who has chosen to give in to the spirit of grief.
3. Dwindling interest in other people.
I know a pastor who today is in a major state of rebellion and darkness. He is on the scrap heap of life. As a pastor, he had become very politically active. He seemed continuously depressed at the way our nation was going politically and morally. It seemed that all he could focus on was the negative and corrupt. It’s all he could talk about.
One day, one of his pet “issues” lost a vote at a city council meeting, and this brother went into grief. He lost his interest in preaching and soul-winning. He began to develop a careless attitude toward people. Soon, he was drinking alcohol, left the ministry, and his life was destroyed. You see, it was his perceived loss that opened the door to the spirit of grief. The fact is, his loss was only a minor issue in the bigger picture, but he saw it as a total defeat.
4. A change in eating or sleeping habits.
5. The age-old trick of casting blame.
6. Incessantly talking about the past rather than the present and the future.
7. Sloppiness and undependability begin showing up.
8. Irritations become increasingly frequent.
9. Bitterness of spirit develops and gains a foothold. In Psalm 73:21(in the Amplified Bible), grieving and bitterness are linked together.
Psalm 73:21 AMPL
For my heart was grieved, embittered, and in a state of ferment, and I was pricked in my heart [as with the sharp fang of an adder].
In Hebrews, we are told to look “diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled,” (Hebrews 12:15). The spirit of grief will lead to bitterness of heart, stop the grace of God from working in your life, and end up defiling you. That’s pretty strong.
10. An erosion of spiritual passion sets in. The things that once excited you have now grown stale and moldy.
11. A desire to run away from all responsibility.
12. A general loss of self-worth.
I received a call late one night at my home. A lady was sobbing and screaming, “Dave’s dead. Dave’s dead.” A handsome, popular seventeen-year-old high school student named Dave had deliberately ended his life. Why did he do it? Grief.
A series of events had brought this young man into the tormenting cave of grief. He lost his girlfriend; she broke up with him. He was expelled from school for some minor infraction. He had lost his job, and somehow thought he was losing his health. All these “losses” brought a tremendous load of sorrow to the young man and the spirit of grief convinced him that he no longer had any worth to anyone and that life was not worth living.
THE SPIRIT OF GRIEF IS DESTRUCTIVE.
We all have suffered pain and loss. But the Bible tells us, as believers, to “sorrow not as others who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Hope is simply a bright picture, or vision of your future.
Sorrow and grief rob you of a bright future.
THE “VALLEY OF TEARS”
Mourning is an outward manifestation of inner pain. It is not the same as staying in a constant state of grief. Mourning, in a scriptural way, will bring blessings, enlargement, and set you in a wealthy place.
… we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.
On our journey through life, we will all face the pain of a personal “Baca.” Sooner or later, we come to its borders. Many have slipped here and fallen to the spirit of grief.
How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah. Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.
The Valley of Baca in Psalm 84:1-7 was an actual place known as the “Valley of Tears” or the “Valley of Weeping.” It has come to symbolize any tough or painful event that causes us to hurt emotionally. It’s a place of seeming uncertainty and stress. But, God made rock-solid promises for those who would go through the Valley of Baca and resolve not to stop there.
He promised that Baca would only be a temporary point in your journey through life. He promised that you would be filled with an unlimited supply (rain for your pools) and that you would gain a supernatural victorious power! All this is promised to those who mourn but refuse to slip into the attitude of grief.