What does it mean to choose life?
In choosing life, at some point or another, you will find yourself at a decisive moment—a juncture—challenged by this realization:
If I stay here, I die.
Not the conclusion one quickly comes to in the line of fire, a crime-in-process, or a military conflict. I’m talking about those times when it becomes increasingly clear that a season shift is at hand and we must change with it.
When jobs change and families grow and relationships begin and end; when normal and the usual begin to feel unfamiliar and uncomfortable.
When apathy and complacency are shaken to take action; and sinking into the grave of dispondency is no longer tolerable.
When sources of sustenance (financial, spiritual, relational) begin to shrivel, and we must lift our heads to scan the horizon and open our ears to listen for the next instruction.
When Life, Life Himself, beckons us, “Rise up, step out and follow Me.”
Elisha realized the season shift after 3 years of provision by the Brook Cherith.*
God had said, “Remain.” And remain he did. He drank water from the brook and ate raven meat provided by the hand of God.
Then… the brook dried up.
God said, “Go.” And off he went.
If we stay here we die.
This was the brilliant conclusion of four lepers, a conversation resulting in a whole city’s deliverance.*
Surrounded by the enemy camps, the city that had formerly tossed them their daily morsels was under siege and well into a severe famine. The people of Samaria were hemmed in, hard pressed and beyond hungry.
It was time for an honest evaluation: they were being starved out.
So, this conversation ensues among the four lepers, outside the city gate:
“Why are we sitting here until we die? If we say, ‘We will enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us we shall only die.”
In the face of hunger, the lepers were in a process of sensible reasoning. While others were contemplating ideas as horrific as cannibalism, the lepers come to a conclusion:
If we remain in this place, we are going to die. (Let’s just admit the obvious.)
If we move from here, but the conditions are the same, we are going to die. (Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.)
We only have one option that may preserve our lives; so we really have no choice: “Come, let’s Go….The worst that can happen is that we will only die.” (Concluding that we will “only die” enables innumerable opportunities for us to take bold risks to live.)
If I stay here I die.
Could this be your decisive moment?
Sometimes facing a dead end is precisely what is needed for a recalculation and course correction.
To make a decision to “not stay here,” doesn’t necessarily mean to change your geographic location… but sometimes it does.
To choose life often means remaining, but refusing to allow certain things to stay the same.
To honestly admit if we stay here we die.…
can sober the addict into first steps of recovery,
move a dying marriage onto a path of healing,
awaken the prodigal at the pig troughs, to the remembrance of the Father’s love, and the abundance awaiting him back at home.*
If we stay here we die can result in even a beggar becoming a hero, who comes to the aid of others still in the place of starving.
And so it happened.
God went ahead of the lepers, causing a supernatural sound to descend on the enemy’s camp, during the night, resulting in panic and their fleeing for their lives.
While 8 quiet, leprous feet were resolutely set in their direction, the Syrians were hearing the clatter of speeding chariots, the galloping of horses, and the sound of a great army approaching. So, they hightailed it out of there, releasing their control of the city, their still-tethered horses, silver, gold, equipment, clothes, other various plunder and… food.
Imagine with me the surprise of our four outcast leper/beggars entering this abandoned camp and having one glorious day of plenty; they were rich! They feasted; they drank; I imagine they even tried on clothes and jewelry, adorning their diseased bodies. And, after their first carnal decision to hoard, they changed their mind for the welfare of the entire city.
This decision to not remain in the place of diminishing life, forced them to find unexpected abundance acquired by supernatural means.
They literally just made a decision to LIVE, started walking in that direction, and stumbled into a complete miracle.
Are you being starved out to discover a feast?
Perhaps it is time to evaluate, rise up, and move in the direction of Life.
*1 Kings 17:3-9, *2 Kings 7, *Luke 15: 17-20
I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the Lord has done. Psalm 118:17