I'm not sure what you mean by cute. Yes. I was told that that's Origen who believed in the preexistence of a soul. It doesn't entirely refute the question of how, though, nor does it stop the mind from wondering that.
Wonder away. I have nothing against imagination, as long as we're clear that that's all it is.
However, saying "school of hard knocks", doesn't really address the pain that the person has to deal with. It reinforces the original point of being put in x position, then being expected to be thankful to God that things aren't somehow worse than they already are, when in fact they could've been better than they are without conceivably much difficulty.
Things are never so bad that they couldn't be worse. They could be better, of course, but the question is whether they would actually be more beneficial. A diabetic would have a cream cake over an insulin jab any day, but which one is actually good for them?
I agree but your response does come back to the original premise. Of course, there is indeed a key difference between the two which can be difficult to tell, but if you're facing those (for you [hypothetical]) crippling difficulties it becomes something rather different. It opens up a can of worms (I can elaborate here if you wish but I hope what I'm saying makes sense). If it's an example of "care and not-lack", then it seems to me that that is just giving you the bare minimum that you need to survive. Notice that I say survive, not thrive, grow, improve, or anything similar.
Live long enough, and you'll likely come across crippling difficulties of some kind - health, relationship, finances, any and all. And if they are difficult enough, and all human avenues seem closed, who is there left to turn to but God? Feeling powerless is terrible, but it points you towards where real power comes from. Ask, receive, and be thankful, rather than sulk because you expected more.
My family is only now seeing some light at the end of the tunnel after five years of near-unemployment and living literally on the edge. I cried and complained a lot, when I thought I couldn't take any more, but at the end of the day, I was sincerely grateful that, for one more day, we had food on the table, our utilities running and the house was not repossessed.
Oh indeed. Just as an aside, how come you make the point of saying it's just imagination?
That's true. The difference though, between the diabetic's cream cake and the insulin is that the doctor can tell you what'll happen with the cream cake, and how it'll negatively affect you, whereas the insulin can be shown (and you can be told how) it'll help you. Like a lot of things it's gain now pain later with the cake, and pain now gain later with the insulin. Not all situations are as black and white, and it's the lack of foreknowledge (as well as a lack of will, and a desire to avoid suffering) which helps make things more difficult. I maintain, though, that the pain that underlies all of this needs to be addressed, and I've found that people [hypothetical] are all too willing to avoid addressing or sometimes even talking about the pain or avenues of actually addressing it - IMO this is a very serious mistake.
Yes that's true. That's the thing, though: we're meant to be thankful for all of the blessings, but when it comes to the other things somehow things get a bit hazier.
Notice what you've said:
...And if they are difficult enough, and all human avenues seem closed, who is there left to turn to but God? Feeling powerless is terrible, but it points you towards where real power comes from...
God is the one with the real power, but rather than grant us a better situation than what we have, He gives us what we have and we're supposed to be glad for that. This is the crux of the matter. The thing is, people don't want to endure pain, suffering, loss, etc. Extrapolated backwards, one doesn't need to have endured any of this in the first place. It's well and good to say that pain teaches you things, you grow in adversity, etc, etc, etc, but to actually say it, and then do it, and/or endure it with a smile is something else completely
different. If it were up to God, He could give us a different "hand" as it were, and that "hand" would be easier to deal with, and still beneficial. Or we didn't have to be here. There are all sorts of alternative possibilities rather than the one one is given that could've happened, but instead the hand we are given is the hand we're given. It returns to being thankful for things not being worse, because God could choose to relieve the pain, or any other multitude of things, but doesn't. As I read the original post, that's the interpretation I come away with. God could choose to do things differently but doesn't, and we're supposed to just be thankful "because".
I understand your idea of "care and not-lack" but to me, that doesn't seem very much like care, or not-lack, let alone both, or love. It sounds as though you're given a hand, and meant to deal with it and not wish you had anything else, or different, no matter what the consequences to you or anyone else are. Of course, you did say ask, recieve, and be thankful, but I bring to point two things. One, one does not ask for this life in the first place. Two, one does not always receive, which again goes back to being thankful "because".
I cannot comment very much on what happened to your family but it sounds extremely difficult and taxing to deal with, and I'm sorry that you've had to go through it. I will merely point out that you said you cried and complained, and it seems to me as though you wished things were different during the time. That is something that God could've done, but chose for whatever reason not to. To me, at least, being thankful for having food, utilities, and a home doesn't sound like being thankful for abundance, or anything much above that bare minimum to survive a position/circumstance that you didn't ask to be put in, nor one that you'd willingly put yourself into.