If Bessie had received a severe blow, it could not have hurt her more. Her precious mother! How could she leave her! Many of her cherished hopes for the future arose before me. Her plan, to do all she could for her mother in her declining years, came up before her; and as she thought of it, she became very sad. When the two girls parted at the door, Bessie’s heart was very heavy; and when she was at last alone, she wept bitterly. She remembered that she had consecrated to do anything the Lord might require of her, but she did not see how she could do this. For many days Bessie bore this heavy burden; and, not being strong, she began to fail in health. From appearances, she had a malignant form of quick consumption. The course of the disease was rapid, and in a few weeks she was not only confined to her bed, but seemingly very near death. Mr. Worthington desired to consult a physician, but reluctantly heeded to Bessie’s earnest entreaties to let her trust the Lord. She said to her father, “I know that God would heal me, if for the best; and, if not, I would rather die.” And she added mentally, “I would rather die than to leave home.”
Bessie at last became so low that she could not be left alone night or day. As her mother sat beside her one day, holding her hand, she said: “I believe, dear, that God wants to heal you and use you for himself. I feel like asking our elder, Sister Smith, to come and anoint you with oil according to Jas. 5:14, 15. I am sure God will heal you.”
Sister Smith was brought as soon as possible; but, to Mrs. Worthington’s surprise, she did not offer to anoint Bessie until the next day. She said: “I can not understand this case. There is something here that seems very strange. Bessie appears to be perfectly resigned to die, but she only answers yes or no to my questions. I shall talk to her again.” Returning to the bedside, she said, “My dear, if God heals you, are you willing to leave your father, mother, and home to preach the gospel”—but she got no farther. Bessie, with all the emphasis she could command in her weak state, interrupted, “No; I will never preach.”
“Ah! there is the point in your consecration that you have not reached,” replied Sister Smith. “You must be willing to do anything that will bring the most honor to God’s name, and to work where he can get the most glory out of your service. It may be the Lord will never require you to preach; but he wants the willingness on your part, just as much as if he wanted to make a minister of you.”
It was some time before Bessie could answer; but when she did, it was to say that she would do anything, only that she must know that it was God who required it.
“God will make you to know that,” said Sister Smith; “and now I feel that everything is out of the way, and we can ask God to heal you.”