Tabitha by Jeff Cavins
#1


A beautiful story from pattimaguirearmstrong.com:



Tabitha
by Jeff Cavins

                       
While a pastor, before his reversion back to the Church, Jeff Cavins became a player in a tragic story involving a 13-year-old and an accidental killing. He had no idea how he could help to her, so he asked Jesus, “What would you do?”

Driving down the street headed for the Dairy Queen one afternoon, I could not get Tabitha out of my mind. The tragedy of this young girl’s life played on my mind much like a repetitive song that relentlessly repeats a chorus refusing to leave the brain. 

Everyone in Dayton, Ohio where I was working as a pastor at the time, was talking about Tabitha.  Although a mere 13-years-old, she had been arrested for the murder of another teenage girl.  But this was no cold-blooded murderer.  Tabitha wanted nothing more than to put an end to the other girl’s bullying of repeatedly hitting Tabitha on the head with a brick.  When the harassment only got worse, Tabitha went to her older brother for help.

“The next time she tries it,” big brother advised, “Run into the house and get a steak knife.  Then, pretend you are going to stab her but just tap her on the shoulder with it.  That will scare her and she’ll leave you alone.”

When the bullying occurred once again, Tabitha followed her brother’s instructions.  But as she aimed the knife just above the other girl’s shoulder, it accidentally pierced the juggler vein.  With blood spurting out, the injured girl ran screaming down the street. Before she reached the end of the second block, she fell down dead.

The police were called and immediately arrested Tabitha, who was in shock and offered no resistance.  It was a story that the local news sensationalized for days.  The immense tragedy of this accident and its horrifying result on not one, but two victims--the bully and the bullied--played on the minds of an entire community.  “What a shame,” everybody said.  “How sad.”

I was in the business of offering comfort and guidance, but here I was feeling just as inadequate as the next person. The sadness was overwhelming and my helplessness stung bitterly.

As I drove along, Tabitha consumed my thoughts.  Unable to shake it off, I pulled my car to the side of the road and sat contemplating the enormity of it all.  I wondered, if Jesus was in my place, what could He possibly do to help in this situation.  “Lord, what would you do if you were here?” I prayed. 

Deep from within my heart I heard these words: “If I was there, I would go down to her prison, wrap my arms around her and say, ‘I love you, I love you.’” The answer was so clear.  As a Christian, I am the body of Christ; I am His arms, His legs, His hands...His voice. 

“Lord, if that’s what you want me to do, I will do it,” I prayed.  I turned the car around and headed back into downtown Dayton.  Once I found the jail, I walked up to the front desk.

“My name is Jeff Cavins and I want to see Tabitha,” I announced to a surprised guard.

“No one is allowed to see her,” the guard responded and then paused and gave me a funny look.  “Did you say you are Jeff Cavins?”

“Yes” I answered.

“Did you lead an Emmaus Cursillo retreat for women a couple of weeks ago?”

Again I answered: “Yes.”

A big smile crossed his face.  “My wife went on that retreat and her life has been changed.”  He thought a moment and then handed me a pen.  “Here, sign this and I’ll take you to see her.”

We walked down a stark corridor to an empty jail where I was instructed to wait while he went to get Tabitha.  At that moment, the enormity of my actions hit me.  Only 15 minutes earlier I was on my way to get an ice cream cone.  Now, here I was, nervously sitting in a jail cell.  When the door creaked open, in walked a petite little girl, trembling with fear.  I later learned she thought I was there to take her to prison.

As I looked into her scared brown eyes, I stepped toward her.  “Tabitha, my name is Jeff and I was driving down the road thinking about you today.  I asked the Lord what He would want me to do about you.”  Then, I walked over to her and put my arms around her.  “Tabitha,” I whispered.  “From Jesus:  I love you so much.”  She cried and I held her.  I sensed that I had truly touched her by reaching out and loving someone who the world had discarded.

Tabitha stepped back and opened her hand to reveal a small, crumpled piece of paper.  She unraveled it and showed me a Christian tract about accepting Jesus as your savior and asking Him into your life. 

“I prayed this last night,” Tabitha said.  “And here you are today.”

Jesus had come to put His arms around her and say, “Tabitha, I love you.”

Realizing the Lord had used me to touch this young girl’s life was very emotional.  Although everyone in Columbus knew about Tabitha, no one had come to visit.  It made me think:  What good is it to be the body of Christ unless we are going to act like the body of Christ.  If we would simply act like the body of Christ--be His arms, His legs, His voice--lives would change. Christ is looking to us to do His work if we will simply yield to His will and take the risk of loving others.  Once we do that, at any hour on any day, even on the way to the Dairy Queen, Jesus can use us.

This story is from the book, Amazing Grace for the Catholic Heart. Jeff Cavins is an internationally known speaker and author. Jeff is the creator of The Great Adventure: A Journey Through the Bible, an interactive program that helps people read the “big picture” of God’s plan in Sacred Scripture.

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#2
A very nice story - I often wonder about a faith that seems to get answers from God so readily... as in this case:

"Deep from within my heart I heard these words: “If I was there, I would go down to her prison, wrap my arms around her and say, ‘I love you, I love you.’” The answer was so clear. "

On many occassions I have asked Our Lord to give me an answer, a sign or something definate, especially when I am making difficult choices in life, and it never comes, or I find myself grasping at straws and reading into coincidences to get some help.

Can one really expect God to speak to us so directly?
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#3
(04-03-2014, 01:55 PM)winoblue1 Wrote: Can one really expect God to speak to us so directly?

Forgive me for going a bit off-topic, but I think about this a lot too and am constantly praying for a "sign from God" such as the author of this story received. It seems like faith would come so much easier to me if I would receive one. I'd have 100% certainty that God exists. What a great gift that would be.
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#4
But there is a difference between having faith and knowing.  We all want to "know" rather than believe.  That's the real problem. . .  Isn't it?

Promptings come in all sorts of ways.  I remember a time when I encountered a man in Paris with HIV.  He was very ill, had no insurance, and could not afford treatment.  He was selling flowers on the subway and everyone was ignoring him.  I looked at him and I couldn't ignore it.  I didn't have any money, so I asked my dad for my allowance and I gave it to him.  Before I knew it, others were buying flowers too.  I still mist up thinking about it - some 20ish years later.  From the look of him, that man didn't have much time on this earth.  I can only hope that my actions brought him comfort that day.  It has been a long time since I've done something like that.  I think as we get older, we get preoccupied with our own lives and our own needs.  We ask God for answers to our own problems but stop listening for promptings that don't directly help us.  We get "hardened" to others' suffering.  Just my thoughts . . .
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#5
(04-03-2014, 02:16 PM)Pinkerton Wrote: Forgive me for going a bit off-topic, but I think about this a lot too and am constantly praying for a "sign from God" such as the author of this story received. It seems like faith would come so much easier to me if I would receive one. I'd have 100% certainty that God exists. What a great gift that would be.

It's not really off-topic, but it is dangerous enough to merit a response.

Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ says:
Luke 4:12 Wrote:And Jesus answering, said to [Satan]: It is said: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

No offense, but it is wrong to ask God and provoke Him for a miracle - especially now that the greatest miracle of all has come.
Luke 11:29 Wrote:And the multitudes running together, he began to say: This generation is a wicked generation: it asketh a sign, and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.

I am not saying you are wicked or faithless, but it is important to recognize that faith ... is by Faith! It is not by sight.

You want a sign from God? Jesus Christ is risen from the dead! (liturgical season notwithstanding  :grin: )

Please do not 'constantly' pray for a sign, or even at all. I used to do so, but I saw that it is faithless. God is the God of gods, the Lord of lords, and not a miracle-dispensing machine. He is a person (well, Three Persons), and so is personal.

You are meant to be the sign to others. Embody Christ. When you become a sign of contradiction, living a life of mercy, love, and holiness, then you will see great miracles and signs. Become holy, and God will bring you to the truth through the right way.
John 20:29 Wrote:Jesus saith to him: Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.

We believe, we are brought into communion with the Father and the Son by the Holy Spirit, and we are given everlasting life. What sort of miracle do you want beyond this? Such a glorious miracle has already occurred in your Baptism: the dead made alive, the lost was found, the mortally-wounded was healed, and the unrighteous was made righteous. It is a pledge to be kept by you. Make good on it, and the signs of Christ will flow. :) We must make effort; we are not passive Miracle-Receivers.
Acts 17:31 Wrote:GOD hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men by raising Jesus Christ from the dead.
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#6
(04-03-2014, 03:11 PM)Heorot Wrote: No offense, but it is wrong to ask God and provoke Him for a miracle - especially now that the greatest miracle of all has come.

No offense taken - I appreciate the response.

I'm having a hard time with this, though, because whenever I'm facing a difficult decision, I often pray that God will reveal the correct course of action for me. That can't be sinful, can it?

Furthermore, it would seem that the majority of pilgrims to Fatima, Medjugorge, Lourdes, etc., travel with the intent of hopefully experiencing a life-changing, miraculous experience, which seems awfully similar to a "sign". Is this sinful as well?

Lastly, didn't St. Therese of Lisieux pray for God to show her a sign which resulted in the conversion of a convicted felon on the gallows?

???
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#7
(04-03-2014, 04:22 PM)Pinkerton Wrote: No offense taken - I appreciate the response.
:)

Quote:I'm having a hard time with this, though, because whenever I'm facing a difficult decision, I often pray that God will reveal the correct course of action for me. That can't be sinful, can it?

I'm not a member of the Magisterium or the hierarchy (thanks be to God!) so what I say is definitely just my opinion. I am often wrong. Please do not be scandalized by me in any way!

Now, I do not believe it is wrong to ask God to reveal the correct course of action for you or for anyone else. That's just normal Providence, and asking for the Father to show you what is good. That's very different from begging for miracles and asking for supernatural signs. The unexpected (and even the expected!) delivery of fresh bread to your door is Providence; the conversion of stones into bread is a miracle. We do not constantly look for the latter, but we do appreciate the former in all its beauty.

Quote:Furthermore, it would seem that the majority of pilgrims to Fatima, Medjugorge, Lourdes, etc., travel with the intent of hopefully experiencing a life-changing, miraculous experience, which seems awfully similar to a "sign". Is this sinful as well?

In my opinion, such trips are signs of desperation mixed with faith. Many will sharply disagree with me, and that's okay. Obviously I don't believe it's sinful to go to Lourdes... I just wish people would make a pilgrimage to the plain old Lord God Almighty in the Tabernacle, for instance.

I guess what I'm questioning or condemning is the constant expectation of miraculous signs and wondrous supernatural occurrences. We rely on the "God of Miracles, not on the miracles of God", if you know what I mean?

Quote:Lastly, didn't St. Therese of Lisieux pray for God to show her a sign which resulted in the conversion of a convicted felon on the gallows?

I do not know much about the Little Flower. Did she ask for God's will to be done, or did she pray for a miracle? Asking for a miracle of conversion of a man's heart to take place is different from asking for signs in the sky, or the transformation of water into wine! :)

BTW, the original subject of the OP is a very good story.  :grin:
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#8


There are also missed signs, too, as revealed by that joke that goes like this:  A man's in the middle of a big flood, sitting on the roof of his house -- water up to the gutters -- praying to God for help.  A boat comes along. He tells the folks in the boat to go away, that He's waiting for God to help him.  A helicopter comes along. Same thing. Finally, he drowns in the waters, goes to Heaven, and asks God, "What the heck, Father? How come I drowned? I was waiting for You!"  God said, "I sent you a boat and a helicopter. What more did you want, dumbass?"


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