Tuesday, October 11, 2011
A Place at the King's Table
The reality is that most of us have constructed a socially acceptable persona that moves in and out of relationships, grocery stores, church meetings, and bank line-ups every day for most of our lives. He or she is the one that most people see and love, and whom we to some degree despise. Because others have loved him or her but not our true selves. And God forbid they should ever meet that wretch.
Okay, so it might not be that dramatic. Not for all of us. But the point is, all of us have an inherent need to be loved, understood, and accepted. Yes, by others around us but, I believe, primarily by our Maker.
So that's where it can get tricky. Because we come to Him hiding inside of our persona and try to present the most acceptable version of ourselves. We know that He can see all the rest but we just don't really want to go there. If we do, it's at a scheduled time and place where we bare our soul, admit to our weakness, and pray that He would rescue us from our wretchedness. If we have realized that we are wretched, that is.
You see, the more I live, and the more people I meet and really get to know, the more I realize that all of us are deformed in some way. Neglected as children, abandoned by friends, abused, forsaken, betrayed . . . these experiences mess up the physical development of our minds, and we end up operating out of a place of mental and emotional dysfunction without really even understanding why. We just try to cope.
Sooner or later, we decide that we do want to meet the Healer and we do want to spend the rest of our lives finally resting in His presence. So we go about the business of getting ourselves fixed. Presentable. Some of us even realize that He alone can heal us and so we ask for His mercy and trudge along, hoping that one day we will finally arrive and earn a place at His table.
What we don't realize, though, is that He loves us just as we are, in all of our brokenness and dysfunction. He doesn't love us for who we should be but exactly as we are.
There is a story in the book of Samuel about a man named Mephibosheth. He was the son of Jonathan, and grandson of the late King Saul. David had defeated Saul and was now king. In the old days, if someone was de-throned, their family would normally be killed off in order to prevent any kind of uprising. When the news arrived that David was coming back to take the throne, Saul's family split, including Mephibosheth, who was just a boy at the time. In her haste to escape, his nurse dropped him and both of his feet were crippled.
Years later, King David inquires as to whether there are any remaining relatives of Jonathan (with whom he had been close friends.) He is told that Jonathan's crippled son still lives. David calls for Mephibosheth who, upon his arrival, prostrates himself before the king and begs for mercy.
Rather than have Saul's remaining descendant killed, David gives him land, a home, and, believe it or not, a place at his table.
From that day on, Mephibosheth eats at the King's table regularly, along with David's own sons, as a guest of honour.
In many ways, we are like Mephibosheth. We have been broken from when we were young. Oftentimes, because of the choices of others and at no fault of our own. We spend so much time trying to make ourselves worthy of His love while the whole time, He is offering us a place at His table just as we are.
I believe that true healing comes only after we have not only accepted but embraced the love which our Father has freely given us. It is only once we have risen to our feet before Him and followed Him to take our place as His sons and daughters, crippled feet and all, that we will be in a position to receive the true healing of our hearts and minds.
This is a difficult thing to do, and perhaps even more difficult than it sounds. For to rise and take a seat as the guest of honour at the table of the King of all kings requires humility. Our carefully crafted persona has no place here. Only our true selves are invited. The broken one. The shameful one. The one we have hidden for our whole lives.
The beautiful one. The chosen one. The one for whom He has died.
He calls, "Come. Dine with me. I have prepared a place for you. Your time to rest has finally come."