This is a “damned” question that quite a few people keep asking. From one generation to another, they are pestered by this horrendous thought like Ivan Karamazov: How can God let innocent babies suffer and die? Should they be punished for the Fall of their long gone ancestors? Is the promised future universal harmony worth a tear of just one child? These thoughts make the hearts of caring and truth-seeking people explode. More often than not, they lead them first to the denial of God’s love towards humankind, and then to disbelief.
Bertrand Russell’s blistering tirade directed at Christians is a case in point. The philosopher invited the faithful to visit a children’s hospital and see with their own eyes the suffering that the children have to endure. Russell believed that if someone would manage to find a justification for the suffering of children after such a visit, it would mean that the person had lost all mercy and compassion, and became “as cruel as the God they believe in.”
Nevertheless, there is another approach to this problem. It is worth noting that it was suggested by an Orthodox volunteer who had been involved in caring for young cancer patients for many years. He bases his argument on the assumption that we all are bound with invisible spiritual threads together to form a single huge human organism. Those threads are like channels through which our good and bad actions, feelings, and thoughts run. All the good that emanates from us is like the life-giving water that is indispensable for the development of our bodies. All the bad is like poison that destroys life. The least protected “cells” of our huge organism – that is, children – are the first to be damaged by that poison.
In other words, it isn’t God who is to blame for suffering of children. It is us. The more sins we commit, the bigger hurdles our sons and daughters will have to overcome. In order to defend them, we have to stop blaming the Lord and start fighting the vices that beleaguer each of us.
No less important is doing good as frequently as possible. For instance, by helping young cancer patients, like the volunteers of donor.org.ua do. Any kind of support shall be a powerful counterbalance to the spiritual poison that threatens our kids.
Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds