How did the Stoic philosopher deal with pain and persecution? The Roman Stoic Seneca wrote:
- “It is the mind that makes us rich; this goes with us into exile, and in the wildest wilderness, having found there all that the body needs for its sustenance, it itself overflows in the enjoyment of its own goods.”
While such self-contentment is admirable, the Russian author Leo Tolstoy understood that it could only be temporary. It had only been temporary for him:
- "A person could live only so long as he was drunk; but the moment he sobered up, he could not help seeing that all that was only a deception, and a stupid deception at that."
Atheist and mathematician, Bertrand Russell, had been content with his life. He had even penned a book proudly entitled, Why I am not a Christian. However, some years later, Russell confessed:
- "I wrote with passion and force because I really thought I had a gospel [creating his own meaning]. Now I am cynical about the gospel because it won’t stand the test of life." (Os Guinness, The Journey, 106)
One of the New Testament authors, Paul, that contentment with our present lives would not be enough:
- If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Cor. 15:19-20)
Even if our situation is comfortable, contentment with this life can only be temporary. This understanding eventually brought Leo Tolstoy to his Savior Jesus.