Dependency. The word conjures up a range of thoughts and emotions. Dependency on God is always something I was taught to do by my parents and something I have strived for throughout my life. However, my understanding of dependency has taken on a new meaning over the last six or seven years.
Six and half years ago Aaron and I were living in Colorado Springs, Colorado preparing to enter camp ministry. We had gotten married a few months before moving there, and we were looking for a job in the Christian camping world. We were in the process of interviewing for a job at a camp in Durango, CO, when God did the unthinkable. He sent us back to Texas to start Camp Machaceh and work with underprivileged youth in our home state. This was a shock to our mountain loving selves, but we knew we had no choice. To stay in Colorado would be disobedient. Within a few months we found ourselves back in the metroplex figuring out what it meant to start a nonprofit organization. Through my experience with Camp, I am constantly challenged to be dependent on God whether for donations, volunteers, or even weather. We have seen God do amazing things through the ministry, a testament to His power and provision. Through each stage of this ministry, I learn something new about dependency. Thus, I cannot help but wonder what it must have been like for the Israelites during their desert years.
The Israelites were dependent on God for everything, much to their chagrin at times. They relied on God for food and water. They relied on God’s protection from their enemies, and they even relied on His guidance as to when to travel and where to camp. In Numbers 9, we learn that on the day the tabernacle was set up, the LORD descended on it in the form of a cloud. This cloud remained there, appearing as fire by night and cloud by day. However, when the cloud lifted from over the tabernacle, the Israelites knew it was time to move to a new location, and they would set out travelling until the cloud settled in a new location. Verse 23 of Numbers 9 particularly struck me:
“At the command of the LORD they would camp, and at the command of the LORD they would set out. They kept the charge of the LORD, at the command of the LORD by Moses.”
The Israelites had nothing apart from the LORD. If God had not been with them, guiding them, providing for them, they would have been left with nothing and would have most likely perished. This made me rethink dependency a bit. While I still think I have been dependent on God for many things in my life and for most all things regarding Camp Machaceh, I wonder, can I truly understand dependency unless I have relied on God for everything down to food, water, shelter, and clothing? Or is simply realizing that without the generosity of others I would be in a much different place a recognition of dependency?