“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…” (Deuteronomy 30:19, English Standard Version)
When I read the news of Matthew Warren’s suicide yesterday, I felt sick to my stomach. I thought back to my own history with mental illness (including my suicide attempt). I tried to reflect on my experience (“Purposeless-Driven Suicide”: Matthew Warren and Me“). Then, I felt emotionally and physically exhausted.
I laid across the bed for hours and prayed. Mostly in images and feelings. I was beyond words. I wanted to express gratitude to God for rescuing me from death, for giving me another chance. Though I am separated from my wife and family and without a job, I am thankful that I am alive. It is truly wonderful to wake up in the morning, to eat a bowl of cheerios and drink a cup of warm coffee, to sit in my recliner and read and write and listen to music, to look out the window at a bright Spring day dawning.
When I finally got up last night (around 7), I grabbed something to eat, then joined the on-line conversation about Matthew’s death. It is both encouraging to see Christians (and others) showing compassion toward the Warren family. I guess there was some truly ugly speculation about Matthew’s death, but I didn’t see much of that. Mainly, I found a Christ-like spirit of “mourning with those who mourn”.
Now it is a new day. I didn’t get up until noon (perhaps an emotional hang-over). These words of Joshua (above) keep ringing through my mind. They were first spoken just before the people Israel were to enter the Promised Land. After years of hardship in their wilderness wanderings, they had the prospect of more ease, luxuries, comfort. Yet, they also faced the danger of exploiting these resources, putting things about God – which is following a deadly path.
Joshua’s words are timeless. They speak to us just as clearly on bright mountaintops and in dark valleys. Whether you are riding on top of the world or languishing in the pit, hear this challenging hopeful message – “Life is worth living.” Choose life with God in Christ and you will experience abundant joy and peace that endures forever. More than this, you will influence the destiny of your children (and others) around you who see what you have and want it for themselves.
Understand, I’m writing this as much to myself as to anyone. Each day I must make choices that contribute to abundant life or lead to an agonizing death. I pray together we can be encouraged to “Choose life,” today and in the days to come.