Sweet Sisters share and today I am so pleased and proud to present this devotion that my Bel Air Sweet Sister Marni Hansel wrote. She has her plate full as a mom of 5 children and takes care of the needs of so many. She took the time to share this recent true story….so sit down to this feast and chew slowly.
by Marni Hansel
“You will always eat at my table” (2 Samuel 9:7)
I’m going to be honest. I was having a pretty good pity party about having to leave a teaching job I really loved. I felt valued in my vocation, my skills and gifts were appreciated, and I resented walking away from this purpose-filled position. My 16-year-old daughter’s physical health had deteriorated to the point that she could no longer attend school, and she was facing a huge surgery, so she needed me to be her full-time caregiver this fall.
I knew I was not really approaching this new “job” with humility and love, so I prayed and asked God to give me a lesson from His Word that I could apply to my situation. What was God’s purpose for me now? Loud and clear in my head I heard, “Show kindness to Mephibosheth.”
We learn in 2 Samuel Chapter 9 that King David’s best friend Jonathan (son of Saul) was dead and his son Mephibosheth was hiding in the “land of nothing”, reduced from royalty to refugee. Significantly, Mephibosheth had been dropped as a child and was lame in both feet. Some versions even use the archaic term “crippled”. (2 Sam. 9:3,13)
David sent for Mephibosheth. “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” (2 Sam. 9:7)
I read over 2 Samuel 9 again, wondering why God had clearly said to me, “Show kindness to Mephibosheth.” I mean, of course I was going to feed my own daughter! I began to question if maybe there was some other Bible story I was supposed to be learning from instead.
But just a few days later at church the pastor’s message was from 2 Samuel chapter 9. Honestly, as the scriptures and lesson points appeared on the giant screen, I was laughing and crying at the same time. Okay, God, my job right now is to show kindness to my poor, “crippled” daughter.
As her surgery date approached, my dear friend Amber encouraged me to open an account with Meal Train, an app that sets up a calendar for friends to provide dinners. I balked at this. In my pride, I felt that I’d be able to handle preparing meals while doing everything else. And really, wouldn’t she just be recovering in bed most of the day? Surely I’d have plenty of time to cook. But Amber was persistent, so I signed up.
The day arrived. The surgeon broke my daughter’s hip bone in four places and put all the pieces together with screws. She spent the next five days in the hospital in tremendous pain. I was so thankful for all the nurses who cared for her around the clock. But then, she came home, still in tremendous pain, and it was my turn. My turn at 1 in the morning, 3 in the morning, and for the rest of the day! My turn helping in the bathroom, assisting with bathing, lifting and shifting, keeping track of medicine schedules. It seemed like she needed me every single second. I was exhausted, and truthfully the pain made her “less than pleasant”, so showing kindness was not easy!
The meals started coming. Every night, delicious homemade meals or tasty take out arrived! I was stretched to capacity, but I never had to think about cooking. To this day, our dinners are still provided! And everyone has been exceedingly generous, so far above and beyond anything I expected. We eat like kings!
In a season of thanksgiving, where I have struggled to be thankful, this abundant provision has filled my heart with gratitude. And who am I, to receive such lavish love? I don’t deserve all this goodness. It brings to mind Mephibosheth’s response to David: Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?” (2 Sam. 9:8)
WAIT! Hold on, God! Are you saying that… I am Mephibosheth?
All along, God has been showing kindness to ME. He has not forgotten me, feeling broken and low in the “land of nothing”. He has brought me to His banqueting table, every meal lavishly provided for my family by the King of Kings. I am loved. I am cared for. I am now THANKFUL in a way I have never been thankful before. Yes, I have a purpose in giving care to my daughter. But I also find a purpose in receiving care from my Father. Through His display of lovingkindness, He changed my resentful heart to a thankful one. Thank you, God, for showing kindness to me.