‘Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. ‘
Have you ever been sick – not seriously sick – but it clarified this for you: “People who are not sick, don’t know how good they have it!”? It might be a stomach virus, a mild flu – whatever, but when you had it, you understood how good life was before you were sick. Of course, for someone who has – or suffers from – something more serious, the contrast between the world of the healthy and the world of the sick, is even more stark and troubling.
When we are sick, we want to get back to normal as soon as possible. We want to do all the things we took for granted, when we were healthy: A good night’s sleep; hugs and kisses from family and friends; the normal round of daily activities; exercise; and so on – those modest, good things that God provides for us to enjoy and even delight in. We want all those things back, and we promise ourselves – and even God – that when we get them back, we will truly cherish them. When we’re healthy, again, we won’t overlook these small blessings.
God alone, is the one who heals: through doctors, medicine, good common sense that each of us can implement, to live better, healthier lives, and – in some cases – God heals miraculously. God heals, and he always heals for a reason. He heals so that some purpose of his can be worked out in our lives. It may be simply to show grace, mercy, and for us to grow in gratitude. It may be to give us an opportunity to forgive and ask for forgiveness. It may be for us to return to – or complete – a task that God gave us. God always heals for a reason that fits his Kingdom plan for our lives. God does not heal, just because, or just so we can return to a life that, practically, was one lived without him. God is not a bellhop healer, or a drive-thru divine pharmacy. If God heals us, we can sure it’s not just so we can go back to ‘normal’ – to the way things were.
The story of Tabitha reminds us of this. Tabitha was a disciple – she already knew Jesus, and served him through “always doing good and helping the poor.” (9:36) Tabitha, of course, was not sick – she died. We do not read it in the story, but we can be sure that she got back to work, serving people in need, just as soon as she processed the shock of being resurrected from the dead! Can you imagine?
If God always heals for a purpose, does he only heal those who deserve it? Those who have “earned a place” in the Kingdom, by doing what he asks? No, we know that God often heals, miraculously, so that the person will have not doubt that God did this, and so that he or she will begin to live as one who knows and loves the Lord. God’s healing is also always God’s grace – not earned, deserved, or won through hard work.
Have you come out of sickness, and are you now back in the land of the healthy? Are you sick, and also full of promises about how life will be different if God heals you? Either way, trust in God and his purposes. Ask him what you should do, now that you are well. Ask him to give you strength, now, if you are sick, and to be strengthened, spiritually if it is his will that you stay where you are.
Prayer: Lord, you are the One who heals. When we are sick, you strive to have our full attention, and to show us all that needs to change, spiritually, even if healing never happens, physically. I believe you can do miraculous things – that you can heal and make a way where there is no way. Lord, do not pass me over, but lead me into the future you desire. Amen.