Acts 9: 36-37 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and alms deeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid [her] in an upper chamber. 39-41 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. But Peter put them all forth, and kneeling down, and prayed; and turning [him] to the body said, "Tabitha, arise." And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. (41) And he gave her [his] hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.
(Tabitha (Hebrew name), Dorcas (Greek name) both mean “Gazelle” Gazelles are swift and able to sustain up to 40 mph for long periods of time. Are known for their grace as they run and will often take off at a fast pace and Jump high when threatened. (Wikipedia)
Dorcas represents many women who love the Lord with their whole heart and will do anything for anyone with no regard to themselves. Day after day, if there is a need they are there; encouraging others while sometimes being discouraged; working in church ministries, event planning, fund raising, mothering and homemaking and some are wives. On the list of priorities for the day, they can never seem to find the time to include themselves.
Dorcas is the one that you can always count on because she will never turn you down. When you need an ear, she lends hers and when your heart is heavy, she will find a way to use her skills and talents to uplift you. This is what the widows knew as they wept for the one who had been there for them during their times of need. She was a woman who understood (and the only woman specifically mentioned as a disciple of Christ) what real compassion was all about.
She gave not only of her substance but also of her service. She was known for all the good she had done. And her good works followed her even after death. No one would have ever known by her giving (in alms as well as service) that in the brilliant tapestry of fine garments, that with each stitch and every weave; in the times she wept with them and sometimes just sat and listened; that while she was there refreshing them, she herself needed refreshing.
Women like Dorcas (as noble as they may be) never consider that they themselves need refreshing. If you pour out of a vessel (no matter how full) it is only a matter of time that it will become empty if it isn't refilled. If we are to truly be Jesus' disciples, we must take time to be replenished.
Jesus made it a priority to spend time in the presence of the Father. Before and after Jesus would do the most profound miracles, he separated himself from the others to be fed and replenished by The Father. He only did what he heard of the Father and this was revealed to him during his times of refreshing “prayer”.
Whether Dorcas had children or had been married (although the scripture seems to suggest that she was also a widow) is not stated, but that it was the widows who stood by Peter weeping.
This was the same Disciple whom Jesus had taken along with him when the twelve year old girl had died, and Jesus took only her parents and the three Disciples in to her room and spoke "Damsel arise"! However this time, Peter entered the room alone. There were no others to enter into the resuscitation room of her miracle.
It may have been out of her own pain she had been able to display such compassion for those (who like herself) understood what it was like to loose someone you love. (Compassion: means to feel as one feels as in "it has come past me" and then to act upon it.
Our Lord who was full of compassion & rich in mercy, came in the likeness of man and suffered as we do just to be able to be the High Priest who is touched by the feelings of our infirmities. This only comes through a heart that is familiar with our pain. It need not be the same situation, but having gone through something yourself, taking the focus off of you and then ministering to anothers need is beneficial to them and can be healing for you.
Dorcas (as she was known) was the woman you wanted to be around when you were down, because she poured so much of herself into you. However, she had no one pouring into her, had given all she had and died.
Now Peter was called upon to come quickly as they'd heard he was nearby (about *twelve miles away). They'd heard of the miracles that he had performed and how he had raised Aeneas from his sick bed in Lydda. Dorcas’ death was a devastating loss, but they knew that she was faithful and that Peter had the power to do something about it.
They wanted Dorcas back. She was faithful and beneficial to the the church. At this time the Church was being persecuted and she was a demonstration of her faith. Oh, that "Who" we believe in is reflected by what we "do". Although, it is not by our works we are saved, Jesus' said they'll know we are his disciples by the love we have (display) one to another. Jhn 13:35
Yes, they wanted Dorcas back. The one, whose garments covered them when they were filled with grief, encouraged them when they were down, comforted and consoled them. They wept for Dorcas; the one that was always running here and there doing this and that and would jump at the chance to help others who were being threatened no matter the cost. She was the one who never stopped and only death could have slowed her down.
But when Peter arrived, he cleared the room as she lay in waiting. He turned his back to pray for her and as he sought the will of the Father, it was Gods Chosen Woman of Grace and Strength he heard The Father instruct him to call as he spoke "Tabitha" (her Hebrew name), Arise"!
Isn't it encouraging to know that we have a Father that knows us by name? Not by the many roles or duties we perform or by that which others call us. But the name that He chose when He created us.
When we are weary and need refreshing, he can hide us in plain sight. He can use circumstances that seem to be working against us, but will use them to strengthen us: Is. 40:31 "But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew [their] strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." It may come in the form of what looks like a form of death, but will actually be a time of refreshing. Our God waste nothing. 2 Cor. 4:16 "Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward [man] is being renewed day by day."
Dorcas (her Greek name known by man) died having prayed for everyone else not having many pray for her. She died having extended her hand to others but not many thinking she needed any. She died having lifted up everyone else and covering them with her beautiful garments of compassion until the day Dorcas died.
But Daddy God knew her by "name" (her identity, character and purpose) And although she'd given of herself unselfishly, God remembered her. Peter speaks to her purpose, calls her by her chosen name "Tabitha", takes her by the hand and lifts her up. Dorcas had died, but Tabitha "Arose".
*Acts 9:42 And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord." *Remember "twelve" is the number of foundation. This miracle propelled the ministry of Peter and helped spread the Gospel of Christ. All by one faithful woman's devotion of service. "Be not weary in well doing, for in due season, you will reap if you faint not." Gal. 6:9