Peter Marshall was a pastor whose wife got tuberculosis and was bedridden for 18 months. To encourage her, he told her about a missionary friend who had been bedridden for eight years. The friend couldn’t understand why God would put her in bed while there was mission work to be done. She prayed to get well, but feeling like that prayer wasn’t working, she prayed something different: “If I’m to be sick for the rest of my life, your will be done. I want you even more than I want health.” Within two weeks, she was well.
Hearing the story made Peter’s wife realize that she had loved the feeling of being healthy more than she loved God.
Now it’s not wrong to love being healthy. We can love that as long as we remember to love God even more. Why? Because he first loved us more than anything. In the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing full well the people he would lose and the coming pain, Jesus said to his disciples, “‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death . . .’ Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will’” (Matthew 26:38,39).
The Father’s will was to put Jesus on that cross, to love us more than anything, to forgive us when we’ve loved anything more than him, and to let us walk through life confident that he will always answer our prayers with the greatest love.