We will soon sit at a table in the presence of family and friends to eat a feast of thanksgiving. Patients in hospitals and soldiers in tents will also have a special meal so that no one will miss the opportunity to think about the graces and blessings of life. If you struggle with symptoms of schizophrenia or severe depression you have opportunity to give thanks also, though you might need help understanding “what’s so great” about your life. A man named Mephibosheth¹ once felt the same way.
Mephibosheth became lame at age five, running for his life after the murder of his father (Jonathan) and grandfather on the same day. Lame men like him became beggars, considered outcasts due to their inability to provide for themselves. Disabled Mephibosheth lived in another man’s home for years until David, king of Israel sought out any remaining relatives of his dear friend, and secret friend, Jonathan.²
To complicate matters, Mephibosheth’s grandfather Saul had hunted David down for years, trying to kill him. At the sight of David, Mephibosheth bowed to the ground and declared himself no better than a dead dog, unworthy of anyone’s kindness or attention.
If Mephibosheth’s own broken body wasn’t bad enough to invite prejudice and neglect by others, his own family didn’t help either . . . except for one link, one man named Jonathan. Can you name one link in your life, today or in days past, which made your life better or more bearable? One person who surprised you with kindness and acceptance?
Thanks to an old friendship and promises made, David found Mephibosheth in a small wilderness town. David brought him to his royal home and invited him to eat at the king’s table “as one of the king’s sons.” The bible is careful to note that Mephibosheth “did eat regularly at the king’s table. And he was lame in both his feet.” Kings didn’t normally befriend lame men. No one normally blessed them.
A diagnosis of schizophrenia or depression can leave you feeling as unworthy as Mephibosheth, and just as lame. Yet as a Christian you were invited to “eat” at the king’s table, God’s table, fully accepted with mental or physical or emotional sickness of any kind. Your sickness of mind or body pales in comparison to spiritual death and God dealt with that grave illness first.
He will get to your other illnesses later, but first you must relish his full throttle love of you right now, in spite of your darkened and anguished mind. His spiritual breath of life in you, his holy spirit in you, his kindness toward you when you treated him so vilely, his promise to aid you in this broken world—for these evidences of his love you can give thanks at the Thanksgiving table. And you can give thanks again if you have the great opportunity to eat with one person who has blessed you.
May your day be graced with renewed memories of those who have fought for you, prayed for you, and loved you in the best of times and in the worst. May you clearly see the great things they have done in your life. May you have strength of mind and soul to bless them in return.
¹ I Samuel 18-31, II Samuel 4:4, 9:1-13
² I Samuel 18-31