There once was a lady, a Christian true. She had gifts and talents and put them to work to serve the Lord’s people and beautify the reputation of the Lord’s kingdom around her. She was also sick and, after years of good work for the Lord (but not nearly enough years being loved by those around her), her body gave out, her spirit released, and to paradise she ascended. That’s not the end of the story, though. With God’s people, death is never the end of the story; it’s just the end of a chapter and the start of a new, far better one. The Ambassador of Jesus was called. Peter saw the weeping and mourning being done over the death of this noble Christian woman. The people brought clothes she had made for them, mementos of her affection, tokens of her Christ-like charity. Peter went to see her, told her to arise, and by the power of Christ she sat up. As great as the lamentation was over her death, even greater was the rejoicing when her friends and loved ones found her alive.
You can read all about Tabitha, the account of her death and resurrection, in Acts 9:36-42. It’s a lovely bit of Bible text that reinforces the power of the resurrection. It also reminds us of the hope we have in Christ, which is the only thing that makes enduring the death of a loved one possible. How blessed were those friends of Tabitha that they were able to witness her rising mere days after losing her. You can read all about it and be blessed in the reading. That’s fine.
I’ve lived it.
Or, at least, I’ve lived through 2/3 of it. I’ve lived through being the friend of a woman filled with gifts and talents, with a heart that was too big for one life to contain. I sat in her chair while she cut my hair (back when I had it). I sat on her couch and talked with her about the King. I watched as she did the work of a mother and wife, sacrificed for her friends and family and shined the Christian light like a beacon to all. And now I’m living through the part where I have to mourn over her death. I have to endure the part where I hug her husband and children and all her many friends who miss her so much.
My own personal Tabitha has died. My friend Sandra Cooper, who took me in when I was a fresh-faced new kid in Memphis, living in a big, scary city, not knowing anyone, unsure how I would survive preaching school, left this world last week. She and Travis were so good to me, as they were to countless other students just like me. We all have our proverbial clothes and garments she made for us, our stories of kindness and motherly love she gave to us, and we all weep over her death.
And we all wait for Resurrection Day, when we can see her alive again.