A friend of mine has decided that she is going to help me become a writer and has been giving me a few assignments to complete. This time my subject is Tabitha. Me having vaguely heard of Tabitha, if at all, decided to do some research so as not to disappoint my mentor.
Consequently, when I did a Google search for Tabitha, the first sentence that came up was: “Tabitha is an American fantasy sitcom and a spin-off of Bewitched that aired on ABC from September 10, 1977 to January 14, 1978.”
Now of course, we do not want to discuss a fictional character from someone’s childhood, but a significant female character of the Bible. So, let’s get started on the story of this little known, but wonderfully generous woman!
Acts 9:32-35 gives us just a little background and context. In these scriptures, we find Peter, who was traveling from place to place, visiting the town of Lydda. During this time, he meets a man named Aeneas who was paralyzed and bedridden for eight years. Peter proclaims to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Get up, roll up your sleeping mat!” (verse 34). Aeneas is then healed and the whole population of Lydda and Sharon turned to the Lord after seeing him walking around. This is where Tabitha, also known as Dorcas, is introduced (Acts 9:36-42).
There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas). Acts 9:36 NLT
Research finds that Tabitha was a Christian woman who lived in Joppa and was one of Jesus’ early disciples.
The name Tabitha is a Hebrew baby name, meaning beauty and grace. It is derived from the Aramaic word for gazelle. Dorcas, a Greek name, also means gazelle. During this period, there was a mixed population of Jews and Gentiles in the area. Both groups commonly had a Hebrew and Greek name. Thus, the writer of Acts identifies her by both her names.
Tabitha is said to have been doing “kind things for others and helping the poor” (verse 36). However, Tabitha suddenly becomes ill and dies. As was the custom of that day, her body was washed for burial and then laid in an upstairs room for viewing. Believers heard that Peter was nearby and sent two men to beg him to come as soon as possible.
It was a whirlwind of a week. There is no other way to explain it. From the highest highs to the lowest lows, I have seen and experienced it all.
Some of the events that affected me started a couple of weeks ago, but concluded this week. For example, my husband and I recently reconnected with some dear friends and were planning to get together with them within the week. But then, there was a death in their family. How our hearts ache for them for their loss. But God’s timing is perfect. How grateful we are that after years of being out of touch, we have found them again and can support them through this time of sadness.
Soon afterwards a beautiful soul in our church became gravely ill. The outcome was, well, let’s say potentially negative. A consistent offering of prayer went up to heaven, covering her and the family and beckoning God to that hospital room. And He did not disappoint. Miraculously, in just a few short days, she received an organ transplant, saving her life. And throughout this process, this person faced each day courageously, confidently, and full of faith and grace. It is a true lesson of how we are each in the palm of His hand.
Back here on the home front, I watched my mother, who some of you know is a stroke patient, hit one of the lowest emotional moments I have seen yet. She was so depressed and anxious, I wasn’t sure if she would pull out of it. However, just as the springtime sunlight began to pour in this week, she bounced back and had some really terrific days.
And lastly, after weeks of tension building up over where life is going in this new passion of mine, and perhaps a small tantrum I threw, my husband and I started to talk. Like really talk. We had one of the best conversations we have ever had over how to get to where we want to go next in life, and most importantly, get there together. And if that wasn’t enough, God threw in an awesome opportunity that we are praying over. It could be a game changer, and so we have been at His feet seeking discernment in this decision. The best part–it has caused us to start dreaming of a better future!
Why do I tell you all that? Because in this life, even those of faith, tend to feel that we live in isolation and that the problems mounting around us are overwhelming. But in these times, God has an unusual instruction for us.
Sing a new song to the Lord!
Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
Sing to the Lord; praise his name.
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.
Psalm 96:1-3 NLT
Well, I must admit my singing is more like ‘make a joyful noise’ (Psalm 100:1) then a song, but I try to make the most of it!
Even through the tough stuff, the rough stuff, the sad stuff, the scary stuff–we need to keep singing His praises, and in some cases, sing a new song! Instead of looking at the circumstances, we need to look to our God. Focusing on Him brings peace, strength, and wisdom. Leaning on Him keeps us safe in the storms of life.
How do we find the right song? First, take a step back from your circumstances and take a really deep breath. I get how hard that is sometimes. Trust me, this week, I had to take my own advice! Second, count your blessings. I know how Christianese that might sound, but it is so important. One of the ways my husband and I dealt with the opportunity before us was to write a list of pros and cons. This works in many situations. Grab a piece of paper, write your troubles on one side, but then write your blessings on the other. I am confident your list of blessings will be longer, and your perspective will start to change. Lastly, pray! Once we start talking with God, He will begin to fill our hearts with more hopes and dreams than they can possibly hold. And in that moment, you will find yourself singing a new song!
Hear the words of David, who was no stranger to troubles and sorrows:
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!
Psalm 30:11-12 NLT
Thank you Father God that you are with us in all circumstances and that when we ask, you give us a new song to sing!
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.