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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. 13:11-26) 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.

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