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 
normal circumstances?

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.