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When we are sick or watch a friend or family member get sick, it is natural to question why God would allow such suffering.
While suffering in the world can be traced back to Adam and Eve in the garden, God is able to turn even the consequences of sin to a greater good. Many times the sicknesses he allows can lead to our greater spiritual wellbeing.
This is why St. Paul says (Romans 8:28) that all things can work together for good.
What’s terribly wrong with “God needed him/her in Heaven” or “He only takes the best”
The saints frequently write about sickness and suffering as “gifts” of God. Sickness may not appear to be a gift, but if we understand God’s ways, we can let that gift transform us and bring us closer to him.
St. Paul of the Cross reflected on this reality, and his thoughts can be found in Flowers of the Passion.
Sickness is a great grace of God! It teaches us what we are; in it we recognize the patient, humble and mortified man. When sickness weakens and mortifies the body, the soul is better disposed to raise herself up to God.
He firmly believed that sickness can bring us closer to God, where we are “better disposed” to raise our hearts and minds to our Creator.
Sickness can teach us patience and humility, virtues that are often among the most difficult for us to acquire.
It is, however, possible to resist the spiritual gifts God wants to bestow upon us. The key for St. Paul of the Cross is to accept it as if God was giving it to us from his hand.
The best way to acquire that peace which is born of the love of God, inexhaustible Source of all virtues, is to accept all tribulations whether spiritual or temporal as coming directly from the paternal hand of God; to look upon all unpleasant events as very costly gifts presented to us by our heavenly Father.
In this way, we can find interior peace through sickness, recognizing it as part of God’s mysterious plan for our lives.
What does Rachel “weeping for her children” have to do with the Innocents, or with Mary?
This does not mean that we won’t feel the rebellion of our spirits. We are not made to suffer, and naturally reject it. Being honest with God about our feelings does not mean that we are failing to accept his Providence. But keeping in mind that God is a Father who always wants what is good for us will help us to get through the daily crosses of the world.
There are many spiritual reasons why God would allow sickness. What we need to remember is that God has a plan of love for us, and is faithful to his love.
Meditate on Jesus’ suffering when you are sick
A prayer to thank God when recovering from an illness