If parents of children with special needs are honest with themselves, I think this is probably a question that’s come up.
Or, why God, do you allow suffering in this way? It’s not fair. A loving God would never do this.
The Bible makes it clear that those who are viewed as weak by the world, are considered strong in God’s eyes. 2 Corinthians, 9:12-11
One of my favorite stories that’s often overlooked in the Bible is the story of Jonathon’s son, Mephibosheth. When Mephibosheth was five, his father, Jonathon and grandfather, King Saul were killed. As word of this met his nurse, she fled with Mephibosheth and as she was fleeing dropped him on his feet, resulting in him becoming crippled.
2 Samuel 4:4 mentions this with no further word about Mephibosheth until many chapters later.
What a trauma that this young five year old boy had to encounter. His family, who was royal, is killed and he becomes crippled in the same breath. The next mention of him is that he’s living in a place called Lo Debar, which translated, literally means “land of nothing”. Mephibosheth had gone from riches to rags. He went from having a destiny to being destitute.
Do you ever feel like you can relate? Like this is not what you thought life was going to hold for you, your children, your spouse, your family.
Some days the task of parenting in general can have me feeling like I’m not enough. But when you add a loss or a trauma to the mix, grief can overtake you. It seemed to have overtaken Mephibosheth until one day, King David asks if there’s anyone left in Saul or Jonathon’s house. Is there any relative left?
David learns there’s a servant from Saul’s house, so he summons this guy to the kingdom.
I love this exchange in 2 Samuel 9:3
The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?”
Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.”
Being lame in both feet became Mephibosheth’s identity. His special need was how people who knew him defined him.
Oh man, how convicting that is for me to even write. I have been guilty myself of making excuses or adding a disclaimer when I’m describing Reagan, my own daughter, instead of embracing the very things that make Reagan and our family unique!
King David blessed Mephibosheth by restoring to him all the land that belonged to his grandfather, Saul, and David told Mephibosheth that he would always have a place at the King’s table.
This is key.
The very last verse of 2 Samuel 9 says, “And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table; he was lame in both feet."
God, our King, has a special place reserved for us at His table especially those who are downcast, weak and feel like they are in the land of nothing. Jesus was moved by the least of these and commanded his followers to be inclusive of “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed,” - Luke 14:12-24
In our world, disability is often considered as less than, but in God’s economy it’s the opposite. It is humbling to know that God has allowed our family to be used in this way. God has decided to show his glory, splendor and amazing, redeeming power in the lives of those who have “special needs”. There is something special and sacred in the way God weaves these stories into the fabric of the Bible and into the fabric of our current society. While the world can have a burdensome view of this life, it’s a privilege to be used by God in this way.
God allows special needs because it’s one of the greatest ways to help us understand God’s love and mercy toward us. I can’t tell you how many truths I’ve learned through parenting Reagan and I don’t think I would ever be able to grasp the depths of some of God’s amazing revelations if I wasn’t Reagan’s mom.
The special needs world is one that is unexpected, so much so, that we’ve ended up closer to our Creator than we could have imagined. We’re seated at the King’s table, forever.
Click here to read the 2 Samuel 9, Mephibosheth coming to the King’s Table