I had just completed a week-long conference at a Navajo Reservation in Monument Valley, Utah. Each day, I jumped into my rental car and drove about 12 miles from my hotel at Goulding’s Lodge to the small assembly called Faith Covenant Church. The view from my room as well as along the road I traveled provided me with spectacular sights. Huge red rock formations jutted from the flat planes heavenward forming stunning configurations and magnificent structures. I found myself in constant awareness of the power of the Creator and the grandeur of His creation.
Sunday morning brought an end to the meetings. I packed the car to drive back to Flagstaff, Arizona for my flight home on Monday. I had noticed that my route would take me close to the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon. Alone, in my rental car, I unfolded an old fashion road map because the GPS would not pick up a signal; and I headed for another wonder of creation.
I found my way, entered the park, parked the car, and walked toward the first viewing point. Emotion swelled up within me so quickly that a lump formed in my throat and tears spilled down my cheek within less than a minute. I had expected to be amazed. I was anticipating being astounded. But the photos that I had seen and the stories that I had heard had not sufficiently prepared me for this sighting. There, stretching out in a breadth that created a 180-degree panoramic view, in a depth that plunged miles into the gorge below, and in a height that challenged the clouds for authority to occupy the heavens was the Grand Canyon.
Huge is too small a word. Grand is too modest an adjective. Remarkable is too ordinary a modifier. Speechless - I was speechless. The beauty and grandeur were inexpressible. I could only weep. I stood there silently and reverentially attempting to embrace the experience.
The mighty Colorado River could barely be seen at the bottom of the deep ravine. It appeared as a small cord wound throughout the rough terrain. I know that the river provides agricultural water for irrigation systems, utilities for many cities, and power for many states; yet in contrast to the vast canyon, the Colorado was dwarfed and hardly visible.
The rock formations displayed such varied angles and asymmetry that they seemed to be competing for a trophy for most unique sculpture. Color tones from light tans to dark browns and pale pinks to dark reds appeared to be painted into the rock striations, thus highlighting the layers, accentuating the complexity, and emphasizing the beauty. No painting of man could compare to this masterful canvas of artistic splendor.
After a prolonged period of reflective appreciation, my mind recounted the words of the psalmist who, upon contemplation of the creative works of God’s hands, declared, “What is man that You (God) take thought of him; and the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God and You have crowned him with glory and majesty. You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.” (Ps.8:4-6, NASB)
I could identify with the sentiments of this psalm. In comparison to this great canyon and the rock formations of Monument Valley, who was I? The rocks have endured since the foundation of the earth, but I am here today and gone tomorrow. This wonder of creation draws spectators from around the world, while I am known to only a few friends and family. The canyon is steadfast and immovable, while I am often inconsistent and wavering in my faith. Yet God – yet God – has created mankind, including me, to bear His image in a way that no other created thing can match.
My source of tears changed. I went from crying over creation’s beauty to weeping over amazing grace. Smaller in size is not less in importance. I stood before the grandeur of the Grand Canyon and worshipped. I worshipped for the world God has created and for the way He has created me in order that I might worship. “All the earth worships Thee; they sing praises to Thee, sing praises to Thy name.” (Ps. 66:4)
He barely remembered the event but he was painfully aware of the incident. He was young – maybe only around 5 years old – when the harrowing news came. His grandfather, the nation’s renowned leader, had been killed in battle with the Philistines. Fearful that the grandson of the defeated and dethroned king would be killed, the governess swept the small boy into her arms and attempted to flee. She stumbled. She fell. She dropped the child, and the fall resulted in the crippling of both of the lad’s feet.
Regret did not change the reality. Sorry did not reverse the result. Mephibosheth was crippled. Although he had little memory of the fall; he had unrelenting consciousness of the effect. His father Jonathan was dead; his grandfather Saul was slain. His home and the life he had enjoyed as a member of royalty had been crippled. Through circumstances entirely beyond his control, his fate, his future, and his person were unmitigatedly marred.
Although he survived the accident and the commandeering of the monarchy, Mephibosheth had been relegated to a life in LoDebar, life without family, and life without inheritance – life impaired at every level. Who chooses that? What child dreams of that? From all appearances, he was condemned to live with brokenness.
Days passed; years passed; and opportunity passed up the young man. Those around him viewed him as handicapped; he viewed himself as a burden. Although Mephibosheth was aware that David had become king and he also knew that pre-king David had been a close friend to his father Jonathan, the crippled boy lived with the dread that someday he might be discovered and, perhaps, executed as part of the lineage of the dethroned family. Fear of another disaster further disabled his life.
Then one day, King David’s men arrived in LoDebar. They had been dispensed by the King to seek and find the son of Jonathan, who David had recently discovered to be the only living heir in Jonathan’s lineage. Once again Mephibosheth was picked up and whisked away – both times by those in the king’s service. The first time he was removed from the capital; the second time he was being returned to the capital. He prepared himself for another fall thinking that the first was unto misfortune but the second would be unto destruction?
Mephibosheth landed – not on the ground but in the palace of the King. David welcomed the son of his friend, this descendent of his comrade. David had pledged love and loyalty to Jonathan, and the King was committed to keeping his promise. David had prepared a seat at His table where the young man was invited to feast.Ornately carved wood upon which was spread an elaborately woven tablecloth afforded not only a platform for the banquet but also a covering which hid Mephibosheth’s broken feet from view. From LoDebar – the land of no pasture from which to feed or thrive – unto Zion – the city of the great king – the hurting and needy man found himself offered the abundance of kingly provision.
David had also reclaimed the lands that belonged to Saul and Jonathan and reassigned the inheritance back to Mephibosheth. David even appointed servants to work the lands and bring the increase to Mephibosheth. In every way, the King arranged to repair and restore the broken life of the one disabled by a fall.
Life changes when love is extended. Past brokenness can be transformed when grace is offered. Damages from the past can cease to cripple the present when kindness is given. Each of us is a Mephibosheth who has been dropped and disabled by some event in our past.And each of us has the opportunity to have our broken feet covered under the table of another King from the lineage of David – King Jesus invites all to his banqueting table.
(This story may be found in the Bible in I Samuel, chapters 4 and 9.)