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God in His Providence Uses Paul's Illness to Spread the Gospel
Bible Verse Galatians 4:13-14
You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first. And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
When Paul was on his first missionary journey, he developed an illness. Some think he contracted malaria and he had either become ill while passing through Galatia or went to Galatia to recuperate. In either case his original intent was not to stop there and preach the Gospel. However, by the providence of God, he was put in that location and the Gospel was preached in Galatia, and as a result many people came to faith in Christ. What's interesting is whatever illness, Paul had, was not only unpleasant for him to bear, but was unpleasant for others to be around. We know this because Paul says of his illness, "which was a trial to you in my bodily condition you did not despise or loathe, but you received me as an angel of God." This shows us that despite his illness, through the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the Galatians, Paul was enthusiastically accepted.
This is important to note, because it reminds us it's not up to us to determine how, when or where to share the Gospel. Rather, our responsibility is to be open to sharing it regardless of circumstances, our condition, or our feelings. Wherever the Holy Spirit sends us, there we are to go, and share the love of Christ. In addition, this is another example of how the Holy Spirit prepares the hearts of those who are lost to hear and respond to the Gospel message. We can never know how the Holy Spirit can use our words and actions to bring others to faith in Christ. And it's important to remember that in the ancient world of the time, diseases, illness and conditions were seen as a form of divine judgment. So for the Galatians to accept Paul and enjoy his presence also speaks to the power of the Holy Spirit to spread the Gospel. And the proof of that is Paul's statement, "but you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself."