He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD favors those who fear Him, those who wait for His faithfulness.
Psalm 147:10-11NASB

We all know that as people age or fall sick, they start losing physical and mental abilities. This is to be expected in a broken world. Death entered God’s creation because of human sin. In fact, Jesus himself promised affliction for all of creation to include animals and nature. But this state is temporary and the Lord, in his kindness, doesn’t want any bodily afflictions to frighten us or steal our peace. Afterall, he prioritizes our ‘heart’ health, rather than our physical health. What pleases our Father A LOT is when we prize, live for and treasure Him.

As both Mike and I turn 65 this summer and with an elderly mom who is half-way to 94, this fact about the Lord’s priorities and goals for us brings great comfort and mental/emotional stability.

Reading through my Bible I can see that what God prioritizes and values totally guide his actions and plans. Over and over, scripture records him saying that he ALWAYS and only does what he wants. And what he wants is always good, regardless of whether we agree or not.

Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. Psalm 135:6 ESV

Knowing how God operates, given what he loves, here is how my mind worked out the truths of that verse in Psalm 147.

Don’t you think it’s important to know what makes God happy, what he delights in? It’s obvious that the Lord takes pleasure in our hearts’ inclination. What we prize, revere or value (another way to say, what we ‘fear’) is the first thing he notices about us. So, we should expect God’s blessings in our life to be NOT primarily about our bodies, our health, but connected to our longings for him. He eagerly answers prayers to transform our desires, our delights, and all the content of our heart.

For example, when we moved to Huntsville, Mike was plagued with a physical and mental condition that wouldn’t let up. It had been in abeyance for a few years, but struck him after that welcome absence. In this round, he suffered for about a year, then by grace, God removed this ‘thorn’. We have not stopped being grateful.

As we prayed every day through this season, besides asking for physical relief, we also asked the Lord to help us NOT waste this suffering. We wanted him to use it to grow our hearts toward him, to deepen our confidence in the fact that he is good, no matter what his plan for Mike turned out to be.

The Lord answered those prayers and our confidence in his goodness grew stronger during this affliction. Recently, I realized that God is doing the same thing with me regarding sleep.

Consistent restorative sleep has alluded me as I’ve aged. Mike prays every evening for the gift of a good ‘through’ sleep.

Yesterday morning, the Holy Spirit gave me a new insight. I had slept super well the previous day, but felt oh-so-tired by early evening. That night, I slept poorly and woke yesterday feeling that lack. But, by grace, I suddenly knew that how my day would go did not depend on ‘good sleep’ the night before, but on the Lord. Afterall, energy and strength come from him.

Sure enough, that lack of rest did not affect my day’s activities. God enabled me to stay energized until my normal bed time.

I see the warning in God’s lesson this week. I can easily (and have done so) make good health and plenty of sleep into an idol.

But the fact is my body IS going to weaken as I get older. But what God cares most is how much of my heart is his. If I were a wagering woman, I would bet that God will answer ALL my requests for a heart that obsesses only for him and his presence. I risk nothing praying for his heart and soul work.