(This guest post is written by my beautiful sister. She is one of the wisest and most compassionate people that I know. She lives life and loves Jesus honestly.)
His name is Mephibosheth. Please don’t let his crazy name dissuade you from reading his story. Since it’s a lengthy one (the name, not the story), I’ll take some poetic license by abbreviating his name to M and summarizing his story with my own words. (To check out his account for yourself, check out 1 Samuel chapter 9).
M happened to have a disability. But in the time and place M lived, there was no “people first language”- he was a cripple- this was, for those in his time, his defining characteristic. He was weak. He was an outcast. He was to be pitied. Being a beggar was his livelihood. He was likely mocked. His contemporaries thought his own sin had caused him to deserve his plight in life (though in reality his caregiver dropped him as an infant while running for their lives from a king, a king who in the “kill or be killed” setting of M’s story had every right to do M in. You see, M was a grandson of the king’s sworn enemy- and therefore could easily be seen as a threat to the throne). I digress…
One day M was summoned by the king to his courts. M had every reason to be terrified. Would the king humiliate him- a court jester for some sort of royal banquet perhaps? Even worse? Did the king harbor a grudge against M’s grandpa and seek revenge on an easy target? What could someone as powerful and majestic as the king possibly want with a nobody like M?
M likely considered hiding- but where could he go on two lame feet? In order to go far, he had to be carried, and anyone willing to do so wouldn’t be willing to face the king’s wrath if caught as an accomplice to M’s refusal to obey orders. And so M hobbled and limped to the palace. The dead weight of his limp legs scraping the palace floor as he drug his weak body toward the king was nothing compared to the weight of his heart. Years of hopelessness now came to a head in what he hoped would not be his execution.
Genuflecting would not suffice for a scrappy nobody like M- he groveled and prostrated himself low in the king’s presence. He dared not look him in the eye. And then, the moment M dreaded- the king cleared his throat to address his subject:
“M? M! Don’t be afraid. Lift your eyes up, son. Let me have a good look at you. Wow- You look like your Dad (we were best friends back in the day). I made him a promise long ago and have been out in active pursuit of someone in his famiy line to make good on my word. How glad I am to see you! Won’t you come and join me for lunch? Not just today, M. Every day. I want to share all of my meals with you. Enough groveling- you are not a servant, you are a friend- no! More than a friend- you are my family.”
My favorite story to read to my kids is The Jesus Storybook Bible Its cover displays the truth “Every story whispers His Name”- reminding us that each story- even those obscure ones hidden in the dusty pages of the Old Testament- hints at and points to a Bigger Story. A Jesus story. And so it is with the story of M.
I see a lot of myself in M. And the king (King David in the account, subsequently)? He’s God. Crippled by my own sin, I am unworthy in the Presence of a Holy God. While I was far from Him, He was in active pursuit of Me, longing for a relationship with me. He doesn’t hold my sins against me or give me the punishment I fear (and, frankly deserve). In my brokeness and shame He carries me to His table and wants to share a meal with me. Not once. Every. Single. Day. For the rest of my life.
Here’s the rub. I am proud. Often times I resent being carried to the table. I want to hide my brokenness- I’m embarrassed and awkward. I want to be put together and make myself at least semi-presentable before I dare darken His door. But he sees right past my rags (even my righteousness is like filthy rags in comparison to His holiness) and my feeble attempts at self-reliance and carries me to His table to chat with Him. I am so grateful that My King does not roll His eyes with impatience and say, “Ugh, I guess I have to lift your dead weight again”. No! His strength is made perfect in my weakness and He scoops me up with the affection a Daddy has for his little girl. He calls me not a servant, but a friend- forever family even. Often I am tempted to slink away from the table to clear the dishes– I’m more comfortable doing things for my King than just sitting in His presence. I attempt on some subconscious level to earn my keep. He gently and lovingly pulls me back to the table, drawing me to Himself with chords of kindness. Enduring Word commentaries poignantly says, “The King’s honor does not immediately take away all our weakness and lameness, but it gives us a favor and standing that overcomes its sting and changes the way we think about ourselves.” I love this.
How grateful I am to be called by the King and carried to His table. If you see me, a recovering performance addict scrambling to “do more” in my own strength, I give you permission to gently remind me that I need to just sit and embrace being loved by the King. The dishes can wait. Relationship with the King cannot.