Dear, dear Tammy (the greatest of love and peace to you!)... we most probably "heard" the same thing at the same time. From the same Source, of course! MUAH and peace to you!
Ah, JWN's Leo Tolstoi. I enjoy your posts, Shelby
I didn't/don't know much about Tolstoi, dear Nick (the greatest of love and peace to you, as well!), but if the following is true, then I consider the comparison a compliment:
Tolstoy believed that a true Christian could find lasting happiness by striving for inner self-perfection through following the Great Commandment of loving one's neighbor and God rather than looking outward to the Church or state for guidance
I don't think I am an anarchist (christian or otherwise), but I do believe it would be refreshing if we could just live... and let live... without government and politics making us do so. Yes, I realize that some believe God's kingdom to be a "government" and perhaps it is. But it certainly isn't anything like what man has established thus far.
You obviously put a great deal of thought and care into each and every one and they are always enlightening.
I am glad to hear that, dear one. I think you and a few others can tell when I'm joshing... and when I'm not...
From all the available evidence, suffering is a human condition that has been around since time immemorial.
Just humans, dear one? I think suffering is a physical condition, experienced by those beings/creatures confined to vessels of flesh. But then, that was the prophecy, wasn't it?
We have no record, written on paper or otherwise in stone, to the contrary.
Ah, that's not accurate! There was no suffering in Eden... which is is recorded/written on paper/papyrus/vellum/whathaveyou... right?
Suffering in the world has always been so great, so incomprehensible, that the more we perceive it the heavier a burden it becomes.
I am going to "say" this, dear Nick, and I hope you don't take it the wrong way: there is a lot of suffering, yes. Always has been. But it's not incomprehensible. Because a great deal of it is preventable and totally unnecessary... but exists due to man... which is comprehensible. Not all, true, but a great deal. And it's only a burden because we don't... WON'T... do enough to end it. We COULD... but that would mean all of us who
"have"... going out and "selling [our] belongings and [giving] to the poor." Which we won't do. We'll give of our SURPLUS, yes, after we've taken care of all of our own needs... including storing up a little sumthin-sumthin for a "rainy" day. Or retirement. Or vacation. Or a second house/car/boat, etc. Couple pennies here and there. But sell EVERYTHING and give to the poor? No way. Even if that meant we would be following Christ (which it would mean)...
When you include suffering endured by sub-human species, the burden becomes exponentially greater.
For the most part, dear one, animals only suffer... again... at the hands of man. They don't expect anything from their existence in this world. They are born, live, eat/sleep/poop/pee/play/bathe... age... and die. They suffer... when we get involved. When we conduct tests on them so that the products we use can make us look/smell/feel good. When we take their coats to keep us warm, even when it's 70 degrees out. When we drive them out of their natural habitats because we want to install a golf course... or residential development with "gorgeous" views. When we use them in experiments to see what will happen "if." When we hunt them for sport... so as to hang their heads as trophies, etc. And when we breed, raise, and slaughter them... inhumanely... and sometimes just for one tiny part so that we can impress our "friends" with a "delicacy." When we pollute their habitat... with oil, garbage, and toxins. Otherwise, they pretty much accept... and handle... their lives and environments.
Fact is we fat cats don't have a clue. We, theist and atheist alike, here sit in our comfortable chairs in our comfortable houses after having filled our bellies with the quality and quantity of food 90% of the rest of humanity could only hope to have and we make comment on suffering in the world.
Sigh. Not all of us are fat cats, dear one. Some of us have experienced great suffering. Some of us know, literally, what it's like to go without food. To be physically stalked... and harmed... by a human predator. To be without sustenance and covering. To be sick, very. And some of us have done... and do... what we can to help others in such situations. Here... and abroad. Some of us do have a clue. Perhaps, like Tolstoi, it was the clue that "called" to US... to seek God.
One consolation is the world is slowly getting better.
That would depend on who you asked, though, wouldn't it? I mean, not everyone "experiences" the same "world". I would venture that it's slowly getting better for some (the "fat cats" maybe?)... and not so much for others (the not so fat cats?). And doesn't time and unforeseen circumstances befall ALL... fat cat and non-fat cat alike?
Medicine has replaced medicine men
And that's a GOOD thing? I'm not so sure. I mean, yes, medicine is good, of course; however, the greed of pharmaceutical "fat cats" has now reached a point where that good medicine is beginning to be largely responsible for KILLING a whole lot of folks, too, yes? And addicting others... and making our children "weird"... er...
That whole "absolute power corrupts absolutely" thing. Supply and demand. We demand a LOT of medicine, whether we need it or not... and they have NO problem giving it to us. So... good, yes... but not absolutely...
and there aren't all that many mass starvations happening anymore.
This decade, no, but who knows what's to come? Man's existence is cyclical. Sooner or later he gets "bored" with peace. So, right now, the "mass" deaths are caused more by wars, coups, rebellions, cartels... modern weapons... than lack of food. So, yeah, one thing's getting better... another's going down the toilet. Evens out.
But no matter how you dress it up, suffering is suffering and it has absolutely no redeeming qualities.
Earlier today I would have agreed... and I still do that suffering is suffering. However, I have to say, after hearing my Lord's word, that for ME, there are redeeming qualities. I cannot stand to see anyone/anything suffering and so I am compelled, even more than usual, to do what I can to relieve it. I am not the kind that sends money to organizations for little children overseas, though. I'm more the kind that will buy a hungry, homeless, possibly mentally ill person right on my own street... or who happens into the restaurant where I'm eating... a meal. Or buy blankets during the winter and cover up people sleeping on the street. Or help someone find housing. Or buy their medicine when they can't afford it. Or empty out my cabinets to take them groceries.
I don't usually mention these things... but I do because I know WHY I do these things: I hear my Lord's voice tell me to do it. I love him... and he loves them... so I am learning to love them, as well. For him.
Okay, gotta go (again - LOL!), but I want to thank you, as always, for your kindness and patience. I truly appreciate it, dear Nick. I know I "sound" crazy/delusional to a lot of folks... but I'm really not. I'm just not a very good liar and so telling the truth is just better for me. Even if it makes me look weird to others. I would rather look weird for telling the truth... than for lying.
Peace to you!
YOUR servant and a slave of Christ,