There’s a story about a 5-year-old prince named Mephibosheth, who was a son to Prince Jonathan, who was the son of King Saul. King Saul had been in a war with a man named David for many years, and on this particular day, the battle had taken the lives of both King Saul and his son Jonathan. David was now coming back into the land, headed for the palace to begin his reign as king. So a young boy, playing in the courtyards without a care in the world, had quite the rude awakening.
In monarchy reigns, when one family is pushed out of authority for another, the whole family is usually killed off so as not to leave any question about who is the rightful heir to the throne. (If you’ve watched any GOT, you know this is where the issues started… who’s the rightful heir?)
The palace help is in a haste to get out of the kingdom before David arrives and possibly puts them all to death. Mephibosheth finds out that not only has his grandfather and father been killed, but now he must leave everything he knows and loves and go into hiding. Then, in the haste to get out, his nurse drops him breaking both legs. And because of their hurried pace, the legs were never properly attended to or reset, so they were forever lame. Mephibosheth is then taken to a town that’s so far removed from everything else that it was named Lodebar, or “place of no bread”. It was a barren town for people with no hope. Mephibosheth (which means “shameful thing”, this name was given him after this incident) went from princely living to hopeless in mere seconds, to live out the rest of his days lame and wondering how he’d ever make it.
Have you ever had a similar moment in your life, where you’re sitting there, and everything’s just fine – you’re hanging out, and then all of a sudden, a doctor gives you a report that you did not expect? One day you felt healthy; the next day, you feel like everything has been turned on end. Maybe it’s that someone who you thought you could trust violated that trust. Maybe it was a relationship that you thought would go the distance, but it’s crumbled down around you, and it’s just put your whole world on end. Or possibly the security of a job with benefits and potential goes through upheaval and you’re being told downsizing is in the best interest of the company. And all the while your realizing the company’s interests and those of your family are completely opposite. And in that emotion, you begin to understand where Mephibosheth is. Hope is gone… He’s now defining his future based on this horrific event. He’s broken, No Hope!
In our story, unbeknownst to Mephibosheth, the now King David had been best friends with his father Prince Jonathan, and the two had made a pact to always take care of the other and their families. Now here, years later, David is reflecting on the passing of his friend and seeks out anyone within Saul’s family to whom he can show kindness on Jonathan’s behalf. A previous servant of Saul, knowing where Mephibosheth is, lets King David know his whereabouts, and Mephibosheth is brought to the palace to stand before the king.
And in that moment, King David says, “Don’t be afraid, I intend to show kindness to you because of my promise to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all of the property that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will eat here with me at the king’s table!” To which Mephibosheth bowed respectfully and exclaimed, “Who is your servant, that you should show such kindness to a dead dog like me?”
‘Dead dog’? Really? All these years of hiding had made Mephibosheth think of himself as worthless. Years of believing that your family had all been killed at the hand of David. Years of believing that David had it out for you and was searching to end you. Years of living, believing you were no more than a shameful thing, and that hope was never an option for you. All these years of hopelessness and worry now came to a head in the presence of the king. Mephibosheth had to think, his misery was seconds from over. The king had found him and was surely going to kill him.
And in the same way, many of us find ourselves pushing ourselves, spiritually, out to a desolate place, where we begin to believe and internalize these things that we think about God. We think, ‘Oh, He’s mad at me because I haven’t been doing what I know I probably should be doing for Him.’ Or, ‘He’s mad at me, and I know He’s upset, and He’s just waiting to end me, I know it’s coming.’ Or maybe it’s that you’ve carried guilt, for years, for something that wasn’t even your fault. But for some reason, you carry it, and you think God is upset or angry in some way.
But that wasn’t King David’s response. The whole while, he had wanted to bless and care for Mephibosheth, to bring him in as one of his own sons!
The story of Mephibosheth is today’s Easter story for us all. I’m here to tell you, your dog days are over! John 3:17 says, “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world. No, He sent Him so that He could save the world through Him.” We are all spiritually fallen and broken, but we were pursued by the King. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and His blood that was shed for us cover our spiritually broken condition. The sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus on Calvary’s cross gives us forgiveness of our sins, and we too are made like one of the King’s own sons. You may think that you are broken and useless, that all hope is lost, but God says that you are chosen and invited to His table.
David wrote, in one of his Psalms, that “the Lord delights in those who put their hope in His unfailing love.” I encourage you, no matter where you may find yourself today, and no matter what people may have told you about Christ, to trust in His love. It’s a love that is unconditional and continually pursues you! A love that never fails! And all that’s required of you is to believe!
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our positive thoughts contributor.