Choose life - a different take on familiar words

During Moses' last speech to the children of Israel, he concluded with these words: "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

Choose life. Those words have become a catch phrase for pro-life causes for many years. It's a good phrase and one I think captures the point. But that's not my focus of those words today.

Moses had just spent nearly the entire book of Deuteronomy reminding the children of Israel of their heritage, their history. He expounded on the laws God had given to him and reminded them of the blessings that came with obedience and the curses that came with rebellion. These people were about to embark on a new era, set on the edge of the Jordan River, and ready to take the land of Canaan as their possession. But before they did, Moses had a few last words to say to them.

"I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse."

I wonder how many of us would find that decision difficult. Seems like a no-brainer to choose life and blessing, right? And yet...it doesn't take more than a glance at the evening news to see a culture engulfed in death and violence. Ads abound with drugs to solve our anxiety, sleeplessness, depression, and so much more. We are not alone.

Great men of God had moments when death seemed better than life. And how many of us have faced issues of chronic or incurable illness and fallen into moments of despair? Even the great apostle Paul faced such feelings. I've faced such feelings. Have you?

Yet...I know the God of blessing, of life! And it occurred to me the other day that too often I get caught up in what is earthly, temporary. I don't see beyond today's pain. Right now I'm on a 3-month diet change that has me avoiding pretty much all sugar, and many other things I love to eat. (I never realized how many times a day I look in the refrigerator or cupboard for something sweet.) Oh chocolate, where art thou?! I'm one month in and wondering if I'll survive to three. Then I remind myself - this is for my benefit, my blessing. If it helps bring healing, I can do this.

I choose life! I want to experience all that God still has for me, for my family, for friends and even the world. I want the energy to give and serve and run and jump and dance and whatever else comes to mind. (Hey, I have a friend who went white-water rafting at 40 and another who went up in a hot air balloon and zip-lining at 56.)

As someone once said, "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming.......WOW - what a ride!"

Oh yeah! When I see Jesus, I want Him to see that I enjoyed every minute of the ride!

How about you? Choose life!