This morning I came to the place in my Bible study in 2nd Samuel where King David says, "Is there anyone left from the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness?" Reading it, you can almost feel the grief so raw from Jonathan's death, though it's been many years, that David can't quite get himself to utter that name without crying. I picture him asking in desperation a question he doesn't expect an answer to. "Is there anyone at all, still living after all these wars, that I could show my love to like I would if Jonathan were still alive?"
A servant says to him, "There is Mephibosheth, Jonathan's son, but he's crippled in both feet." As a young child, he was dropped by his nurse, a fall that injured him for life.
"There is someone?" David's heart fills with excitement, "Bring him to me." Mephibosheth at comes at once and bows down to pay homage. I imagine it took quite some effort. I am not crippled, but both my feet always hurt and once I'm down, it's painful to get back up. So I empathize with Mephibosheth. At times pain is downright humiliating. When I want to be smooth and graceful, instead I hobble and limp. My old golden retriever and I move much the same way by the end of the day. At times I feel like a dead dog. That's the expression Mephibosheth used: "What would you want with a dead dog like me?" I deal often with a sense of shame because of my looks and the way I walk. I know I shouldn't, but I do. I use humor to cope at times, but it's a real deep longing to feel like I measure up.
Anyway, back to Mephibosheth: to his great surprise, the crippled son of Jonathan hears these words, "Please, sit at my table. Eat with me." The scripture says he was treated like a king's son. Not like a hired hand, a son! He was eating with the king, not bringing food to the table for the king.
I read on in my Beth Moore book. The name Mephibosheth means "shame destroyer. " God was starting to speak to me as I put the book aside and meditated. Whenever I've pondered this story of grace in the past, I have been overcome by identifying with Mephibosheth and only him. But today, not only did I feel crippled from the fall of sin, I also had trouble picturing myself seated at the table of the Lord. Instead I saw myself carrying food from the kitchen and saying to those seated, "Here you go, this is good stuff. Try some." In my mind I was simply delivering what smelled good and what little I might have sampled in the kitchen, hoping there might be leftovers.
God was saying, "No, you're not a hired servant. You're my daughter. Sit down and eat and enjoy everything I've prepared for you. I don't want you to live your life just giving out bites to other people."
I realized it's been a while since I really feasted at the Lord's table. It's probably why I spend so much effort trying to fill myself with physical food and activities and conversation and hobbies. Sure, I am faithful to read my Bible almost every day , and I certainly get something out of it almost all the time. And I've been offered rich food in the form of great sermons at church, but lately haven't really appreciated it for myself. It's been more like filling service trays to deliver to others at the next "occasion" rather than sitting down with the King Himself for a full course meal. I am praying that God gives me grace to see myself as one who belongs at the table, not just near it waiting for crumbs.