Day 68: Physical Problems and Christianity

Galatians 6:11 :

See with what large letters I write to you with my own hand.

Today we are going to look at the historical evidence that this verse provides.

Here we read that the fact that Paul wrote with large letters. This, apparently, was evidence that it was really Paul doing the physical writing of this part of the letter. I presume based on the way this verse was written that the Galatians would have expected that Paul would write with large letters.

I now have to wear glasses. It is frustrating when I have to fill out a form with small boxes without my glasses. I really like to be able to see what I am writing. If I am allowed to, I will write larger letters without my glasses because I feel more comfortable.

This is one of those evidences that seem to indicate that Paul had trouble seeing. Since he uses such a familiar tone with the Galatians, it is natural for us to hypothesize that Paul was experiencing severe problems with his eyes when he first visited as indicated in chapter 4 verse 15.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it is important to remember that physical hardship is not evidence that God doesn’t like you. Paul had more trouble in his life than many of us will ever have. Listen to what he said here:

2 Corinthians 11:23-30 :

Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as one beside himself) I am more so; in labors more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths often. Five times from the Jews I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I suffered shipwreck. I have been a night and a day in the deep. I have been in travels often, perils of rivers, perils of robbers, perils from my countrymen, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the wilderness, perils in the sea, perils among false brothers; in labor and travail, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, and in cold and nakedness. Besides those things that are outside, there is that which presses on me daily, anxiety for all the church groups. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is caused to stumble, and I don’t burn with indignation? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that concern my weakness.

Now, I wouldn’t be surprised that someone who went through such severe trials, such as being stoned and left for dead and then getting up and walking off, might have a bit of trouble with certain damaged body functions. The problem that we deal with today, however, is the idea that somehow those who are Christians will be “blessed” by God so that they won’t have problems. Wasn’t Paul a Christian?

This man, who probably couldn’t see very well, was used by God in his weakness to help you and I today. God is glorified in this way. I am not saying that we shouldn’t pray to be healed or that we should try to get beat up. What I am saying is that if you find yourself in pain here on earth for doing what is right, don’t think that it is because you are not blessed. The Bible indicates that if you do suffer in this way, you will be rewarded in the future. This fact was so well understood by some in the early days of Christianity that they gladly gave their lives for Jesus.

You are loved if you are a Christian and no one can take that away. Don’t let the lies of smooth talking money-grabbers rob you of your joy in Christ.