Our first question after heading through 'hour three' on the road was: Where were in the car those DVDs from my younger days? They come in very handy with three young boys sitting in the back of the 4x4.
The road we travelled on remained unsealed to Coober Pedy until 1987. It is the Opal capital of the world and virtually every shop sells them - including the local supermarket. The town is a unique setting in that many of the houses and hotels are built underground to escape the biting Australian sun. The day we arrived it reached 42 degrees Celsius, but locals say most days it actually is recorded close to 46 in the summer. You actually feel like you are inside the mines themselves as you walk around the streets and view the underground hotels, tourist attractions and are wary of the many mine shafts (many unmarked) that dot the landscape.
It is not the ideal start to a journey home, but when you know your goal, you remain focussed on the destination, not the circumstances or the place you find yourself in.
I wonder how Tabitha felt after the following story from Acts 9: 36-41 (NIV)
36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. 37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, "Please come at once!" 39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. 40 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. 41 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. 42 This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.
She was a disciple, a woman of faith. A believer in Jesus. She was always helping others. We then have an incredible miracle occur and I am sure the early Christians were overjoyed at this confirmation of God's amazing power at work in the early church. She dies and I would like to assume that she was enjoying her time with Jesus in heaven as a good and faithful servant. She had reached her destination. She was in a "happier place".
I often wonder how Tabitha might have felt after this event. For all sense and purposes, she had reached her destination, probably the very goal of her existence and then she was pulled back from heaven for some reason. The Bible tells us she was sick, so she went to a place where she did not have to suffer anymore. To be presented back to the widows would most likely have meant she was a widow herself. Did she get a chance to see her husband in heaven? She would not have had a high standing in her society without a husband, so going to be with Jesus in heaven would have been a happy ending to a servant hearted life.
Whatever circumstance or place we find ourselves in, a barren wasteland, a thriving metropolis or a beach side home, the very fact we have that breath of life in us, is a miracle to savour each day of our life. I would like to think Tabitha enjoyed the chance to wake up in the morning, breathe again and continue on her journey with her fellow believers and the people she was helping.
Whatever life journey we are on, may it be a chance not to promote our own selfish agenda or harmful destination, but may it be a chance to further advance His Kingdom and Jesus' work here on earth.
Russell Modlin teaches English and Physical Education at a Christian School on the Sunshine Coast. He is married to Belinda and they have three children.
Russell Modlin's archive of previous article can be found at www.pressserviceinternational.org/russell-modlin.html