Because I Was Sick!
As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you.
If you were taught about Jesus when you were a child somewhere along the way you were instructed to ask the question: “How does God want to use the gifts He has given me?”
Even as men during the time of the Old Testament would bring the best they had to sacrifice to God we must give Him the very best that we have. And what is better than sacrificing to God the very gifts that He has given us? So if I can run, I run for the Lord. If I can speak, I speak for the Lord. If I can serve, I serve for the Lord. Whatever I do, I do it in the Name of the Lord and to His glory.
Then comes the troubling verse in Galatians, “It was because of an illness that I preached the gospel to you.” Paul didn’t preach to the Galatians because they were the focus of his high calling. He preached to them because he was sick! How unflattering is that? And how easy it would have been for Paul to say: “I can’t preach today because I’m sick.”
Have you ever thought that God was missing an opportunity when a great man or woman of God spends years in prison?
If I could be in charge of planning the evangelizing of the world for the next fifty years I don’t think I would include the “persecution and suffering” part for believers. I would simply orchestrate opportunities for the unbelieving world to be confronted with the claims of Jesus. I would let unbelievers suffer so they would be more open to the message. As far as believers being sick or in prison or even ridiculed, I would leave that part out.
So here I am once again confessing to God that His ways are beyond my understanding. My role is not to understand. My role is to embrace the day as He plans it. One thing I have learned is that when I question God I refrain from the “Why did this happen to me?” question. Rather I ask “Since You allowed this to happen to me, what do You want me to do today?”
Let’s be practical. Paul got sick and because of His sickness we will share eternity with many people who lived in Galatia. So when I get sick I must stand up, if I can, and seize the opportunity for God!
Remember the work you do for God must be directed by and empowered by the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit can work well even in a body that is sick!