Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Tabitha and the Quest for Healing

Photo Courtesy of: Daan Stevens

“At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord.” ~Acts 9:36-42

Many lies and misconceptions get thrown around in the church today surrounding the topic of healing. There are those who will say the miracles of healing have completely ceased, while others say that God wants all believers to be healthy, wealthy, and prosperous at all times. There are those “evangelists” who will charge you for a healing and others who say you just have to suffer through whatever comes your way, that to seek healing and restoration is asking too much. They are the same ones who are against women having epidurals not because they think there are benefits to natural childbirth, but because they think that because pain in childbirth was a result of the fall, that we are required to muddle through it. 

I must say I do love the story of Tabitha (or Dorcas) found in Acts 9. This was a woman who loved God and loved others. So much so that her very reputation itself was that she was “full of good works and charitable deeds which she did”. These were not things she did sparingly; her life was full of them. You can imagine the grief, then, felt by the whole town when they heard she had passed.

Tabitha’s story certainly isn’t the story of everyone who passes away, but it is an amazing story showcasing the power of God and the part that miracles have played in His plan down through the ages. What is hard, though, is when that story is not your own or the one of someone close to you. When your beloved grandfather foes into cardiac arrest and the doctors aren’t able to bring him back. When you watch your sister-in-law lose her baby just an hour after birth. When someone else you know has cancer and it’s up in the air as to whether or not it will go into remission, let alone stay in remission. Life is hard, and situations such as these are far too common for many of us. Chances are, we have all known someone, for example, who has died of cancer no matter what the doctors, pastor, and praying Christian friends tried to do. 

The answer in times like that, however, is not to give up on one’s faith. It isn’t to throw in the towel and say God really fell asleep at the wheel that time. It isn’t to spout off nonsense about that person having not had enough faith, or else they would be well. Instead, it is time to look to the future joy and hope we have awaiting us in heaven. Revelation 21:4 reminds us of this beautiful time we have awaiting us, a promised time that we will enjoy no matter what befalls us in this life: “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

God is not a cosmic kill-joy or a sadistic ruler bent on sending destruction and pain our way. But death and loss and pain and destruction are results of the choices we have made on our own to go against God’s perfect ways for us. As a result, we battle sicknesses, lose loved ones, and walk through life with holes in our hearts as a result. And while God does promise that good will come out of each and every not-so-good thing we face in this life, sometimes the fulfillment of that promise feels a long way off. Sometimes God does heal people in this life from their infirmities, but sometimes He doesn’t. And we have to be able to look beyond the pain of the here and now and on into the joy that is awaiting us for eternity. 

I know that the temptation is to strive to find answers and seek healings and make restoration happen if something is broken and unhealthy in your life. While there is nothing necessarily wrong with seeking to find answers and attain solutions, this Lenten season may we cease our constant striving and rest in the arms of Jesus, the One Who loves us more than anyone else ever could and Who has a reason for everything He does. 

Look to Him this season, friend, knowing that He has everything under control. And even if you do not acquire the healing you seek in the transient here and now, it will be yours in the eternal kingdom. How much more valuable that truly is!

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