Edith Burns was a wonderful Christian who lived in San Antonio, Texas. She was the patient of a doctor named Will Phillips, a gentle physician who saw patients as people. His favorite patient was Edith Burns.
One morning Dr. Phillips went to his office with a heavy heart, however, and it was because of Edith Burns. When he walked into 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 said good morning to his office nurse, Beverly. Beverly had first met Edith when she was taking her blood pressure.
Edith said to her, "Hello, my name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?"
Beverly said, "Why, yes I do."
"Well, what do you believe about Easter?"
"Well," said Beverly, "it's all about egg hunts, going to church, and dressing up."
Edith kept pressing Beverly about the real meaning of Easter, and finally led the nurse to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
That morning, Dr. Phillips said, "Beverly, don't call Edith into the office quite yet. I believe there's another delivery taking place in the waiting room."
After being called to the doctor's office, Edith sat down, and 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." And then with a heavy heart he said, "Your lab report came back, and it reveals you have cancer, and, Edith, you're not going to live very much longer."
"Why, Dr. Phillips," said Edith, "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 many of 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.
Within few weeks, Edith had reached a point in her illness where she needed to be hospitalized. "Dr. Will, I'm very near home now," she said, "so would you make sure that they put women in the room with me who need to know about Easter?"
Well, they did just that, and one patient after another shared the room with Edith. Many of them gave their hearts to Christ. Everybody on that floor, from staff to patients, were so excited about Edith that they started calling her Edith Easter - that is, everybody except Phyllis Cross, the head nurse on the floor.
Phyllis made it plain that she wanted nothing to do with Edith because, "She is a religious nut." Phyllis had been a nurse in an army hospital; she'd seen 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 gotten the flu, so Phyllis Cross had to go in and giver her a shot. When she walked in, Edith had a big smile on her face as she said, "Phyllis, God loves you, and I love you, too. I've been praying for you."
The head nurse frowned. "Well, you can quit praying for me. It won't work. I'm not interested."
"Well, I will pray," responded Edith, "and I have asked God not to let me go home until you come into the family."
"Then you will never die," snapped Phyllis, "because that will never happen," and she curtly marched out of the room.
Every day when Phyllis Cross walked into the room, Edith would smile and say, "God loves you, Phyllis, and I love you too... and I'm still praying for you." Finally, one day, Nurse Cross found herself being literally drawn into Edith's room like a magnet would draw iron. She sat down on the side of her bed and Edith said, "I'm so glad you have come, because God told me that today is your special day."
"Edith, you have asked everybody here the question, 'Do you believe in Easter?' but you've never asked me," said Phyllis.
"I wanted to many times, but God told me to wait until you asked, and now that you have asked..." And then Edith took her Bible and shared with Phyllis Cross the Easter story of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Then 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?"
"Oh, I want to believe that with all of my heart," said Phyllis. "And I do want Jesus in my life." And right then and there Phyllis prayed and invited Jesus Christ into her heart.
For the first time Head Nurse Phyllis Cross did not march out of the hospital room, she was carried out as if on the wings of angels.
Two days later Edith said to Phyllis, "Do you know what day it is?"
"Why, yes, it's Good Friday."
"Oh, no," said Edith. "For you every day is Easter. Happy Easter, Phyllis!"
Two days later, on Easter Sunday morning, Phyllis stopped at the hospital flower shop before she went to her desk. She wanted to take a bouquet of Easter lilies up to Edith and wish her a Happy Easter.
When Phyllis walked into Edith's room, Edith was lying still in her bed. Her big black Bible was open on her lap and her hands were on her Bible. She had a sweet smile on her face.
When Phyllis reached over to pick up Edith's hand, she realized Edith was gone.
Her left hand rested on John 14:2-3: "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
Her right hand was on Revelation 21:4: "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 any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
Phyllis Cross took one look at that dead body, then lifted her face toward heaven, and, with tears streaming down here cheeks, said, "Happy Easter, Edith. Happy Easter!"
Then Phyllis left Edith's body, walked quietly out of the room and over to a table where two student nurses were sitting. She smiled and said, "Hello, my name is Phyllis Cross. Do you believe in Easter?"