Why is there suffering?
Frederica Mathewews-Greene wrote:
The Orthodox view of sin is as an infection that pervades Creation and causes suffering for all (rather than bad deeds that demand punishment). It’s a new idea and hard to grasp, for converts. But one of its implications has to do with the suffering of the innocent; there is suffering because you and I sin, and contribute to the dis-ease of this life, and empower the evil one who hates humanity. The question of “why does God permit suffering” gets turned around. God became man to put an end to sin, but we keep returning to it voluntarily. Of course the evil one is going to go after the innocent in particular, because added to that suffering is the pain onlookers feel. Why do the innocent suffer? Because I gossip and eat too much.
“Why does the dog bark at us? It barks, because it is telling us, ‘On account of your sins, I also suffer illness and die.’”
— Elder Joseph the Cave-dweller (†1959):