09/12/2009

A true story

Charles Swindoll recounts a true story as told by Dr. Will Phillips of San Antonio, concerning one of his favorite patients, a wonderful Christian widow named Edith Burns. She had a habit of introducing herself by saying: "Hello, I'm Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?" Then she would go on to explain the meaning of Easter and many times in so doing she would lead people to embrace a saving faith in Jesus. One day, with great sorrow on his face Dr. Phillips told Edith that her test results revealed the presence of an aggressive cancer and that she would not live much longer. Edith's reply was full of her typical faith. She said, "Don't be sad Dr. Phillips! Do you think God makes mistakes? You have just told me I'm going to see my precious Lord Jesus, my husband, and many of my friends. You have just told me that I am going to a place where I will celebrate Easter forever." As she said this, Phillips thought to himself, "What a magnificent Christian woman this Edith Burns is!"
Within a few weeks Edith had to be hospitalized and she requested that she be given non-Christian room-mates so she could explain to them the true meaning of Easter. As a result several women left that hospital as Christians. Unsaved nurses and orderlies also made decisions to follow Jesus because of Edith's witness. Pretty much everyone on that floor became a Christian except for the head nurse, Phyllis Cross. She made it plain that she wanted nothing to do with Edith's faith. You see, Phyllis had been a nurse in an army hospital and felt she had seen and heard it all. She was the original "G. I. Jane" and had been married three times. Phyllis was hard, cold, and did everything by the book. One morning as Phyllis gave Edith a shot Edith said, "Phyllis, God loves you and I love you too. I've been praying for you." Phyllis frowned, "Well, you can quit praying for me. It won't work. I'm not interested." Edith replied, "Well, I will pray and I have asked God not to let me go home to heaven until you come into the family."
"Then you will never die," snapped Edith "because that will never happen." And she turned and marched out of the room.
Every day when Phillis walked into Edith's room, Edith would smile and say something like, "God loves you, Phyllis, and I love you too and I'm still praying for you." After weeks of this, Phyllis' heart warmed toward Edith such that she looked forward to caring for her. Gradually they became close friends. One day Phyllis found herself being literally drawn into Edith's room. She sat down on the side of the bed and said, "Edith, you have asked everyone here on the ward the question, 'Do you believe in Easter?' but you've never asked me." Edith said, "I wanted to many times but God told me to wait until you asked and now that you have...." and with that Edith took her Bible and shared with Phyllis the Easter Story. She told her all about Jesus Christ...His life and death and resurrection. Then Phyllis bowed her head and asked Jesus to come into her heart and life.
A few days later on Easter Sunday morning, Phyllis went into Edith's room to bring her some flowers and she found her dead. Her big black Bible was still open on her lap and a big smile was on her face. Phyllis noticed that Edith had been reading it because her left hand rested on John 14:2-4 where Jesus said, "In My Father's house are many rooms: if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am going." Edith's right hand was on Revelation 21:4 where it says, "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be anymore pain: for the former things are passed away." Phyllis took one look at Edith's dead body and lifted her face upward and with tears in her eyes said, "Happy Easter Edith! Happy Easter!"
Phyllis left Edith's room and walked quietly over to a table where two new student nurses were sitting. Phyllis smiled at them and said, "Hello. My name is Phyllis Cross. Do you believe in Easter?"

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