Life’s not fair! How often have you heard that? If you’ve ever had children, I’m sure you’re familiar with the cry, ‘That’s so unfair!’, usually when you’re trying to exercise some robust parental control. And often we answer in response, ‘Well, life’s not fair so just get used to it!’

When our youngest son was still at home, one winter’s evening he told us that it was unfair that the heating wasn’t turned up, as it was his human right to be warm in the house whilst just wearing a T-shirt. A couple of years later, we visited his flat in a chilly Newcastle winter, and when we asked why the flat was so cold, he said he’d not had the heating on all winter as it was too expensive! Job done I think!

Sometimes life goes swimmingly. Other times it doesn’t. And then it’s easy to exclaim that life’s not fair. Sometimes things happen to us to throw life out of kilter. We suddenly lose a loved one, we don’t get the job we think should be ours, we get ill, worse still, it’s incurable, we may be childless, divorced, alone. Others seem to go cheerfully on their way, whilst for us, life seems so unfair.

Mephibosheth, a character in the Old Testament, might well have said the same thing. You can read the story in 2 Samuel 4. He’s the son of Jonathan and the grandson of King Saul. When they are both killed in battle, the royal line he’s part of suddenly collapses. There’s panic at the palace as news arrives that his father and grandfather have been killed. But he’s only 5 years old, used to life in the palace, destined to be king one day. His nurse sweeps him up in her arms and in her hurry to leave she drops him, on the hard stone floor. He cries out, but with no doctors or orthopaedists to help, he’s on his own. And as a result, he’s now lame, carried everywhere, always dependent on the welfare and help of others.

The story continues in 2 Samuel 9. Years later, the orphan Mephibosheth in isolation in a barren place, fearful King David is coming after him.

Life wasn’t fair for Mephibosheth. Disaster had come upon him in a moment; the promise of an extravagant royal future replaced by pain, by bitterness and isolation.

But Mephibosheth stumbles into grace. Out of the blue, when life was hopeless, grace appears. The grace of a king, and the grace of the King of kings.

Maybe grace is the answer for us too, for the things in life where we declare, ‘that’s not fair! Why me!’ Maybe grace for those times when we say, ‘I’m not good enough.’ ‘I’m a failure.’ ‘It’s not my fault!’

This week we’re looking at the work of grace in Mephibosheth’s life, grace that’s available to you and me too.

A woman was reading Scott M Peck’s book ‘The Road Less Travelled’ on the bus home. The neighbour beside her asked,

‘What are you reading?’

‘A book a friend gave me. She said it changed her life.’

‘O yeah? What’s it about? The neighbour asked.

‘I’m not sure,’ the woman replied, ‘Some sort of guide to life. I haven’t got very far.’

She began flipping through the book. ‘Here are the chapter titles: ‘Discipline, Love, Grace…’

The neighbour stopped her. ‘What’s grace?’

‘O I don’t know,’ the woman replied, ‘I haven’t got to Grace yet.’

If you haven’t got to grace yet either, come along and hear about Mephibosheth and David, a mirror of the grace of God to us.

You’ll find grace amazing.

In the words of one of U2’s songs:

What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings

Because Grace makes beauty out of ugly things.