Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.”
2 Samuel 9:3 (NIV)
In the small community where we live is a local non-profit organization that serves adults who are physically and mentally challenged. Many of these adults live on their own or in local group homes. They have a tremendous amount of autonomy, work locally, and learn to live as independently as possible. If you spend any amount of time around the town you will eventually meet and interact with a number of them. I have always found it a unique aspect of our community that we collectively embrace and assist them. Just a few weeks ago one of our special neighbors approached Wendy uptown and asked for a ride. Of course, she drove him to the store even though it was out of her way and didn’t fit her schedule.
Back in 2008-2009 our daughter Taylor was serving a mission in Morocco. She and a teammate connected with a local center that served handicapped children and they spent time serving at the center and loving the children. Through her eyes and stories we learned how different the experience can be for those with disabilities in other cultures. Families are often ashamed of their disabled children and the culture makes an effort to hide them away from public view. Little assistance is provided for the centers who serve the disabled or those who are caretakers. I’m sure Taylor and her team were an amazing blessing to the children and the administrators of the center where they volunteered.
I thought about these contrasting experiences when reading about David’s kindness to Jonathan’s lame son, Mephibosheth. I am quite certain that a lame man in David’s day was far more likely to experience the shaming derision of the community as Taylor experienced in Morocco than the community embrace that our town attempts to give to the adults from the local center. Mephibosheth’s personal shame and self-condemnation is apparent from the moment he opens his mouth: “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”
David’s grace to the lame son of his late friend reminded me this morning of the grace that Jesus has afforded me. I am spiritually lame in so many ways. I am undeserving of the King’s favor, and yet I am invited daily to His table to enjoy provision, relationship, healing, encouragement, strength, and most of all forgiveness.
Today, I am thinking about the grace David showed Mephibosheth, the grace Jesus has shown me, and how I can pay it forward in a tangible way with those in my spheres of influence.