It’s a no brainer, surely? No-one would choose death over cake… would they? Going over some of my degree work I found an essay I’d written on Deuteronomy 30:11-15. The passage says:
“Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?”… No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. See, I have set before life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to Love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands
then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.”
When looked at through the lense of the New Testament we see that to ‘Choose Life’ is to choose Jesus and to walk in his ways, obeying the command that runs right through the New Testament –
‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart, mind and soul and Love your neighbour as yourself.’
For Moses it is a clear-cut choice. Choosing life over death, prosperity over destruction. In Eddie Izzard’s famous “Cake or Death” sketch – it’s easy. Surely cake would always win over death…?
And yet. For the millions suffering from mental illness, that choice is no longer obvious. Indeed, for eating disorder sufferers – the choice is being made by default – death is quite literally being put before cake.
Choosing life is not always an easy decision. And Deuteronomy 30:11-15 offers both a comfort and a challenge.
In Abbie Robson’s autobiography ‘Secret Scars’, she documents how in particular verse 19 showed her that she had a hope if she chose to live God’s way and follow the path Jesus set before her.
‘The choice he is laying before you is between life and blessings in him, or death and curses without. Choosing life is about choosing God, not about giving up everything else…I fell to my knees and started to weep. I knew that I wanted to choose God in a way that I had never done before.’
It can take every ounce of strength, every joule of energy. When hearts and minds are crying for relief – choosing life is costly.
But it is worth it.
It means being able to live life, rather than just surviving.
It doesn’t mean a life without trial or struggle.
But it means not walking alone, and not walking without hope. When we choose life, we choose hope. Hope for change. Hope in what is to come. Hope in who is to come.