It was long, hard walk. Beads of sweat gathered on my forehead. My legs were burning; my breath coming in fits and stops because it hurt to fill my lungs with air. But the triumph I felt made all the exertion worthwhile. I made it; I finally made it – to the end of my driveway!
You see, I know what it is like to be lame. After surgery, walking was next to impossible. No, let me rephrase, it was impossible. Physical therapy helped, but recovery took longer than expected. I grew impatient, crabby. Then, one day the physical therapist said words that brightened my soul, “Let’s take a walk!” Delicious words, forward moving words, words that finally spoke about leaving my recovery behind and embracing wellness. I was ready. “Let’s go,” came my reply, wearied from too much time in bed.
But, it wasn’t that simple. The spirit may have been willing, but the body takes longer. So, by the time I made the round trip between bed and driveway’s end, I was spent. And ready to climb back under the covers.
Despite the triumph, I also remember the humiliation of it all. Before my surgery, this was a distance I covered with little thought. My driveway wasn’t that long – a few car lengths at most. The degradation of that slow, torturous walk chipped a hole in my spirit. I wanted to feel less lame, to skip, to jump…to feel affirmed, less burdened.
So the words Mephibosheth have always retained a special place in my heart, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?” (2 Samuel 9:8) A dead dog! Yep, that’s what I felt like that day.
Lame after an accident, fearful of King David, since he was the son of Jonathan and that lineage could threaten David’s claim to the throne, Mephibosheth is ushered into the palace and given a place at the royal table for the rest of his life. All because of a covenant David made to remember all Jonathan’s relatives with kindness.
God’s grace shouts through David’s kindness. We are all weak, lame and fearful before our King. We have all separated ourselves from the King, but because of God’s covenant with us, He seeks us out and showers us with the riches of His table. We can delight in our fellowship with Him and receive His grace which gives us more than we have ever lost.
But notice what David’s kindness doesn’t do. It didn’t remove Mephibosheth’s lameness. In this world, no matter how healthy, we are nevertheless weak and lame. It is God’s favor that restores our dignity and gives us a place of honor. God never wastes a hurt; He crams our lives with His love even in our most difficult seasons.
God comforts us through our distress. He soothes our wounds. He loves us so fiercely that He seeks us out even when we don’t always turn to Him. And in the middle of our hurts, He showers us with love. He loves us first before we even think about loving Him.
While I eventually regained my ability to walk, I’m still lame, frail in spirit mired by my wrongdoing. That makes me realize even more how much He loves me. God is bigger than this world, stronger than the ills of this world. Yet He never leaves me.
No matter what humiliation this world brings, no matter how difficult the steps we must take in life, this world is not all there is. God, like David with Mephibosheth, has not left us orphans.