October 7, 2003
What's Your Crutch?
"Live in booths for seven days: All native-born
Israelites are to live in booths, so your descendants
will know that I had the Israelites live in booths
when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the LORD your
God" (Vayikra / Leviticus 23: 42,43).
Beginning the evening of October 10 this year is the
Festival of Sukkot (also called Booths or
Tabernacles). Sukkot is a week-long harvest
thanksgiving celebration. Everyone during this time
was to move into temporary shelters, in order to
remember the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness
prior to entering the Promised Land.
What we were to learn by this is that if God
miraculously provided and cared for us when we could
not take care of ourselves, is he not the one who
continues to provide and care for us in our more
It is interesting that simply retelling the story of
the wanderings is not sufficient for us to learn this
lesson. It is only by actually living outside with
minimal protection that we can truly connect with what
happened long ago.
I believe the reason for this is that no matter how
much we say we trust God, we have a tendency to rely
on the things around us. Those of us who have a good
home, decent clothing, and sufficient food may say
that God is our provider and protector, but do we
really believe that's true?
Isn't it when we undergo difficulties that we learn
upon what or whom we are relying?
Then there are those who don't believe in God; those
who don't think they need him. Some of these people
also deny that they are relying on the things around
them – until they are taken away.
I heard it said that people who believe in God have a
crutch. This somehow creates an expectation that so
called normal people should not need to rely on
anything but themselves. This is a most ridiculous
notion. No human being is self sufficient. We are
designed to be dependant. We need oxygen, food, and
protection from the elements, or we die.
It is strange how those who have enough money to buy
their way out of many of their problems sometimes
think that they are doing it themselves. They actually
think that they don't need anybody, much less God.
But what would these people do without the doctors
they hire, the people who provide the gas for their
car, not to mention the farmers who grow the food they
buy at the grocery store, which too would not exist
without the effort of the people who work there?
Everybody has a crutch, if not several – things
outside of themselves that prop up their lives.
It seems that it isn't until our crutches are knocked
out from under us that we realize that we have been
leaning on them.
This is not to say that all dependency is bad. On the
contrary, one of the main purposes of the Festival of
Sukkot is to give thanks for things. But in order to
give thanks we need to realize whom it is we should
thank. Once we realize that it is ultimately God on
whom we depend, then we can relate to things and
people the way we should.