Have you ever complained to the Lord that you were born wrong? That you, to quote Warren Buffett, lost out in the lottery of the womb? I love that old song from Fiddler on the Roof:
Lord, who made the lion and the lamb, You decreed I should be what I am, Would it spoil some vast, eternal plan, If I were …
… in this case, born into another family? You know, where the dad was an honorable man, successful in his career and loving to his children? And where my mother was gentle and caring, and not on my case every day to clean up my room? A Grandma who always baked cookies and gave us great gifts? Living in a house that’s big enough and where everything works? Where there was no shortage of toys and stuff? A home with parents who were smart enough, athletic enough and good looking enough to pass on genes that I didn’t have to do homework, would win everything at school and make everyone like me? Have you ever had any thoughts like that?
Mephibosheth was born into privilege and wealth. His dad was the crown prince of God’s nation. His grandfather was the first king of Israel, handpicked by God. Mephibosheth had nothing but a bright future ahead of him.
Fortunately, adversity awaits every one of us, whether we grew up with the golden spoon or not. Fortunately? Yes… adversity is the food of character. Bummer, but true. Adversity befell Mephibosheth, too. It wasn’t his fault that he lost it all. It wasn’t his fault that his grandfather feared man more than God. And it wasn’t his fault that his dad and grandfather were killed on the same day, and the rest of the family had to flee. It wasn’t his fault that his nanny dropped him as they fled. He probably fell on his back (we don’t know the details) and hurt his spine. As a result of that fall, he became a paraplegic. Not only did he lose his family, he lost his future and his health, all in one day. Golden spoons, though we all crave them, are no help on days like theoe.
In the space of a few days, Mephibosheth went from a privileged young boy living in a palace to a refugee. The good news is Machir offered to take him in. The bad news is Machir lived out in a remote corner of the world, in a town called Lo Debar, which Mephibosheth probably never heard of before. Thirty or forty years in Lo Debar passed peacefully, if slowly. Mephibosheth was paralyzed, but cared for. Nobody came after him and nobody bothered him.
Then, on a random day, when nobody expected, a messenger showed up. Mephibosheth was summoned to King David’s palace. His grandfather (Saul) hunted David down for many years, with an unholy passion, and for no reason. The summons could not have been good news for Mephibosheth. He wasn’t the one that hunted the king down, but who knows what King David was thinking after all these years?
Mephibosheth was faced with a choice. He could stay in Lo Debar and face certain death, or he could go to the palace and take his chances with what the king had for him. Since he had nothing to lose by going, he went. That was the best decision of Mephibosheth’s life. David just wanted to honor his promise to Jonathan, Mephibosheth’s father, and by going, Mephibosheth received an upgrade to first class. But, unlike a move to first class, it was not an upgrade in circumstances. He didn’t get a bigger house in Lo Debar or more servants.
This change involved a total move, a complete change of life. The invite was not for a visit; it was for a permanent move. Mephibosheth had to leave behind Machir and his digs in Lo Debar. He probably had to leave most of his friends and possessions behind. He didn’t get a new home. Instead, he got a suite in the palace. That suite wasn’t his; he was just a guest. The bad news was he had no ownership. He was at the mercy of the king, and he had to submit to palace rules. The good news was all his needs were provided, and provided to palatial standards. He would be protected and respected, he could stay there forever, and it would cost him nothing. Best of all, he could hang out after dinner with his dad’s best friend and get to know him.
Mephibosheth could have approached the move with fear: is this king going to treat me well or not? Or, he could have approached it with gladness, looking forward to getting to know this generous king better. The choice was his.
We have the same choice. A King in heaven calls us to leave behind the protection we think we have built up for ourselves with the things of the world. That King’s palace is in a different realm, the spiritual. The main fare there is love, peace and joy. Nothing and nobody can get to you unless the King permits. He’s always in a good mood and He loves you without condition. He wants to hang out with you and nothing brings Him more joy than you wanting to hang with Him.
What are you still doing in Lo Debar? You are invited to the King’s palace.