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Why does the Lord permit illness?
The Lord permits illnesses to come upon
us, first of all, for our sins — to remit them, to change our immoral style of
living, to realize this sinfulness and understand, that the earthly life — is a
short moment, beyond which stands eternity, and what eternity will be like
depends on the life one leads on earth.
Sometimes children are ill because of the sins of
the parents, in order that sorrow would destroy their thoughtless life, force them to think and change, to purify themselves
from passions and vices.
We suffer illnesses for our humility and keeping
us from evil and ruinous deeds. Once Jesus Christ was walking with his
disciples, and the apostles noticed a person who had been born without legs. He
sat at the side of the road and asked alms. The disciples asked: "Why
doesn’t he have legs?" Christ answered: "If he had had legs, he would
have covered the earth with fire and sword" (from an apocryphal gospel).
Often the Lord tears us out of our day to day
life through illness, protecting us from serious harm, through a small
unpleasantness keeping us from a greater. Many illnesses result from the
activity of the unclean spirits. And many symptoms of demonic attacks can be
very similar to natural illnesses. It is clear from the Gospel that the crooked
woman who was cured by the Lord (Lk. -26)
was not possessed, but the reason for her illness was the activity of an
unclean spirit. In such cases medical skill is futile, and healing can be given
only through the power of God, who banishes the spirit of evil.
The Christian view of illnesses consists of
humble acceptance of God’s will, in the recognition of one’s sinfulness and
those sins, for which the illness was brought on; in repentance and changing
one’s life. Prayer, fast, alms and other good deeds placate the Lord, and He
sends us healing. If we do go to doctors, then we ask God’s blessing for
recovery and trust our body to them, but not our soul.