Elder St Paisios on Bearing Trials and Illness…
When I was sixteen years old I asked God to give me a serious illness, a cancer, so that I would suffer for His love and glorify Him through my pain. I made this prayer for a long time. But my elder told me that this was egotism and that I was coercing God. God knows what He is doing. So I didn’t continue with this prayer. But, you see, God did not forget my request and He gave me this benefaction after so many years!
Now I do not pray for God to take away from me the thing I asked Him for. I am glad that I have it so that I can participate in His sufferings through my great love. I have the chastisement of God: For the Lord chastises the one he loves. My illness is a special favor from God, who is inviting me to enter into the mystery of His love and to try to respond with His own grace. But I am not worthy.
– ‘Spiritual Struggle’