Is Health the Most Important Thing?
By Dennis Edwards
I’ve been thinking about what people often say when asked how it’s going. They might reply with something like, “Well, as long as I’m healthy, that’s the most important thing, health. So, I’m good, I’m healthy.”
One time while doing a public campaign I asked the people I was interviewing what was the most important thing to them, and the largest percentage said it was health. But is health really the most important thing, and as long as you’re healthy you’re fine?
The Bible tells us that the most important commandment is to “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. And the second is like unto it, to love thy neighbor as thyself.”1
In Proverbs we read, “Get wisdom, and with all thy getting get understanding,” and “Wisdom is the principal thing.”2 In fact, Proverbs tells us that if we pursue wisdom, it will bring us health and life.3 The life it alludes to could very well be the eternal life we all inwardly hope for and desire.
Elsewhere, in the Psalms we read over and over again how David’s problems and aflictions brought him closer to God. In other words, they worked together for good for him. We read, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.”4 “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”5
David also wrote, “In my affliction I cried unto the Lord, and he answered me from his holy tabernacle.”6 In the Psalms we continually see David finding God in his afflictions. His afflictions and troubles drew him to the bosom of God.
In the book of Job, we read how his losses and affliction led him to the realization that God is good, and no matter what happens in our life, God will bring good from it if we can continue to love and trust Him. The most famous line from the book of Job is his declaration of faith: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”7
Apostle Paul further assures us in his writings that “All things work together for good to them that love God.”8
In the book of Jonah we see Jonah saying, “I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.”9 The affliction, the predicament, the problem Jonah was encountering caused him to cry unto the Lord.
Therefore, affliction, sickness, troubles, pain, and heartache can work for our ultimate good if we draw nigh to God through them. The apostle James, brother of Jesus, wrote, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.… Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”10
Solomon wrote that “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting. ... Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.”11
Solomon also wrote, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”12 Paul tells us that God’s commandments are fulfilled in one word, even this, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”13
So, from the Bible we see that our relationship with God and others, not our health, is what is most important. Therefore, friends, it behooves us to love God and one another, and to bear our suffering and afflictions bravely and let them draw us closer to Jesus.
Some of the most difficult circumstances in life are made bearable because of the relationships that are formed during times of affliction. We can let our suffering, pain, and sorrow draw us closer to God, who loves us and wants to help and comfort us and be our refuge in the time of trouble.
Annie Johnson Flint wrote many beautiful poems which can be found in the book The Making of the Beautiful. Her 40 years of debilitating arthritis drew her closer to God, who made something beautiful out of her broken pieces. Like Nick Vujicic of “no arms and no legs” fame said, “God won’t allow anything to happen in your life if it’s not [going to work together] for your good. I just hope people see that if God can do something beautiful with my broken pieces, then God truly has a plan for each and every one of us.”
God wants relationship with us. Through the heartaches and afflictions we experience, He seeks to draw us to Him, so that we find our fulfillment in Him. He is there, longing for us to seek Him. Relationship with God makes everything in life bearable.
He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater.
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase.
To added afflictions, He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.
His love has no limit.
His grace has no measure.
His power has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth and giveth and giveth again.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father's full giving has only begun.
—Annie Johnson Flint
1 Mark 12:30–31.
2 Proverbs 4:7.
3 Proverbs 4:13, 22.
4 Psalm 119:67.
5 Psalm 119:71.
6 Psalm 18:6.
7 Job 13:15.
8 Romans 8:28.
9 Jonah 2:2.
10 James 4:8–10.
11 Ecclesiastes 7:2–3.
12 Ecclesiastes 12:13.
13 Galatians 5:14.