Choosing Life

Deuteronomy 30:15-20
"See, I have set before you, life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life..." - Moses

From time to time, we are in situations where we must make a choice. The right choice leads to life, health, and the continuation of the loving relationships we enjoy on earth. Choosing wrong, may result in death. A number of years ago, my wife awoke in the morning with a sore throat. As the day progressed the condition worsened. At dinner time, she couldn’t eat. By 7pm she was having difficulty swallowing fluids. I decided to drive her to the emergency room. Within a short time after arriving, a doctor said to me, “It is a good thing that you brought her in when you did.” By then, she was having difficulty breathing. Why did I bring her in when I did? Because we had health insurance. If we were uninsured, as we had been back in the 1980s, I would have held off. It’s just a bug, it will pass. My dithering may have been fatal.

Moses says, “See, I have set before you, life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19) We never know when we are making a choice like that. It may be when we refuse to let a friend drive drunk. It may be when we encourage an abused woman to leave her marriage. It may even be when we vote for a politician who will support legislation that protects those who are poor, or disabled, or refugees, or those our society discriminates against.  Before the Affordable Care Act, neither of our adult children had health insurance. Today, they would not hesitate to go to and receive treatment if they were sick. Thankfully, certain wise politicians voted to keep the Affordable Care Act. I believe that healthcare is a basic human right.

Returning to the story of my wife’s throat infection. She was in the hospital for almost a week before they found the exact antibiotics that would save her. Each year, there are more and more ‘super-bugs’ that are resistant to antibiotics. The science behind this problem points to America’s agri-business, which uses carelessly uses antibiotics to speed livestock to harvest and lessen the effects of over-crowding. Competitive market pressures lead farmers to choose death. It may be only a matter of time before an apocalyptic order strain gets loose. Moses would call that a curse.

Lately I have come to believe that all choices are linked. Moses is calling us live with humility and generosity, such that, whether we are responding to our neighbor’s need, or deciding upon which presidential candidate to support, or buying hog feed, we will prayerfully weigh whether life is affirmed or cursed in some small way by our choice. God grant us all, wisdom and grace in this.

I've been thinking about John McCain this week
Epiphany 6