Edith Burns was a wonderful Christian who lived in San Antonio, Texas. She was the patient of a doctor by the name of Will Phillips. Dr. Phillips was a gentle doctor who saw patients as people. His favorite patient was Edith Burns. One morning he went to his surgery with a heavy heart and it was because of Edith Burns. When he walked through the waiting room, there sat Edith with her big black Bible in her lap earnestly talking to a young mother sitting beside her. Edith Burns had a habit of introducing herself in this way:
“Hello, my name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?”
Then she would explain the meaning of Easter,
and many times people would be saved.
Dr. Phillips walked into his office and there he saw the head nurse, Beverly. Beverly had first met Edith when she was taking her blood pressure. Edith began by saying, “My name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?”
Beverly said, “Why yes I do.” Edith said, “Well, what do you believe about Easter?”
Beverly said, “Well, it’s all about egg hunts, going to church, and dressing up.”
Edith kept pressing her about the real meaning of Easter, and finally led her to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
After been called into the doctor’s office, Edith sat down. When she took a look at the doctor she said, “Dr. Will, why are you so sad? Are you reading your Bible? Are you praying?”
Dr. Phillips said gently, “Edith, I’m the doctor and you’re the patient.” With a heavy heart he said, “Your lab report came back and it says you have cancer, and Edith, you’re not going to live very long.”
Edith said, “Why Will Phillips, shame on you. Why are you so sad? Do you think God makes mistakes? You have just told me I’m going to see my precious Lord Jesus, my husband, and my friends. You have just told me that I am going to celebrate Easter forever, and here you are having difficulty giving me my ticket!” Dr. Phillips thought to himself, “What a magnificent woman this Edith Burns is!”
Edith continued coming to Dr. Phillips. Christmas came and the office was closed through January 3rd. On the day the office opened, Edith did not show up. Later that afternoon, Edith called Dr. Phillips and said she would have to be moved to the hospital and asked, “Will, I’m very near home, so would you make sure that they put women in here next to me in my room who need to know about Easter.”
Well, they did just that and women began to come in and share that room with Edith. Many women were saved. Everybody on that floor from staff to patients were so excited about Edith, that they started calling her Edith Easter; that is everyone except Phyllis Cross, the head nurse.
Phyllis made it plain that she wanted nothing to do with Edith because she was a “religious nut”. She had been a nurse in an army hospital. She had seen it all and heard it all. She was the original G.I. Jane. She had been married three times, she was hard, cold, and did everything by the book.
One morning the two nurses who were to attend to Edith were sick. Edith had the flu and Phyllis Cross had to go in and give her a shot. When she walked in, Edith had a big smile on her face and said, “Phyllis, God loves you and I love you, and I have been praying for you.”
Phyllis Cross said, “Well, you can quit praying for me, it won’t work. I’m not interested.” Edith said, “Well, I will pray and I have asked God not to let me go home until you come into the family.”
Phyllis Cross said, “Then you will never die because that will never happen,” and curtly walked out of the room.
Every day Phyllis Cross would walk into the room and Edith would say, “God loves you Phyllis and I love you, and I’m praying for you.” One day Phyllis Cross said she was literally drawn to Edith’s room like a magnet would draw iron. She sat down on the bed and Edith said, “I’m so glad you have come, because God told me that today is your special day.”
Phyllis Cross said, “Edith, you have asked everybody here the question, ‘Do you believe in Easter?’ but you have never asked me.”
Edith said, “Phyllis, I wanted to many times, but God told me to wait until you asked, and now that you have asked…”
Edith Burns took her Bible and shared with Phyllis Cross the Easter Story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Edith said, “Phyllis, do you believe in Easter? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is alive and that He wants to live in your heart?” Phyllis Cross said, “Oh I want to believe that with all of my heart, and I do want Jesus in my life.” Right there, Phyllis Cross prayed and invited Jesus Christ into her heart. For the first time Phyllis Cross did not walk out of a hospital room, she was carried out on the wings of angels.
Two days later, Phyllis Cross came in and Edith said, “Do you know what day it is?” Phyllis Cross said, “Why Edith, it’s Good Friday.” Edith said, “Oh, no, for you every day is Easter. Happy Easter Phyllis!”
Two days later, on Easter Sunday, Phyllis Cross came into work, did some of her duties and then went down to the flower shop and got some Easter lilies because she wanted to go up to see Edith and give her some Easter lilies and wish her a Happy Easter. When she walked into Edith’s room, Edith was in bed. That big black Bible was on her lap. Her hands were in that Bible. There was a sweet smile on her face.
When Phyllis Cross went to pick up Edith’s hand, she realized Edith was dead. Her left hand was on John 14: “In my Father’s house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” Her right hand was on Revelation 21:4, ” And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Phyllis Cross took another look at Edith’s dead body, and then lifted her face toward heaven, and with tears streaming down her cheeks, said, “Happy Easter, Edith – Happy Easter!”
Phyllis Cross left Edith’s body, walked out of the room, and over to a table where two student nurses were sitting. She said, “My name is Phyllis Cross. Do you believe in Easter?”
It’s never too late to seek a better understanding of the true meaning of Easter.
Why did Jesus offer His life for me? Why did he wash the Apostles feet? Why did He break bread and share it with those present? What did He mean by the words,”This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, that is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
The questions continue but with them, answers that bring new hope and new life.