As Christians we actually celebrate Easter every Sunday morning ... the day Jesus rose from the dead and secured for His people eternal life! Yet we do look forward to the day each year we specifically designate as Easter Sunday ... the day that literally changed everything. This is the fundamental reason we celebrate and enjoy Easter. God, in His grace, often gives us a taste of the sweetness of this resurrection power.
We woke up fairly early that Easter Sunday morning in 1984. Anita and I had only been married since the previous August and we were visiting my family down in Florida. I needed to help my dad get ready; his health was failing and he just wasn't able to do everything necessary for us to leave in a timely manner. We had to eat, get dressed, and head over to Tallahassee to see my mom and sisters ... mom had been in the hospital for several days battling the cancer she'd been dealing with for 7 years. I drove us to the hospital (about a 45 minute trip), parked, and Anita and I walked with my dad to the hospital entrance so we could see my mom, his wife. We slowly made it up to her room only to hear my sisters say that mom took her final breath the very moment they looked down out of the window and saw us walking across the front lawn of the hospital. After a time of shock, many tears, and few words, my dad asked me if I would say a prayer. I remember him asking but I don't remember anything I actually prayed.
Though I wasn't with my mom as she died I had an incredible sense of satisfaction and joy because I had just witnessed God specifically answer a prayer I had uttered only a few days before. During that time our family was trying to spend as much time as possible with mom as she lay dying in that hospital bed. We'd take turns staying in the room while everyone else went out to eat or do whatever else needed to be done. This particular night was my turn to stay with mom while Anita, my dad, and my sisters all went out to eat. Though mom was essentially not conscious during her final days I still spoke with her that night and asked if I could pray for her. I asked God if He would graciously allow mom to live just a couple more days and then die on Easter ... the day we specifically celebrate Christ's victory over death. I stood in that hospital room that morning amazed that God would answer such a simple request. But I was more amazed at the realization that my mom, a follower of Jesus Christ, was now healed of her cancer and enjoying the presence and loving embrace of her Savior Jesus Christ.
That particular Easter morning was one I'll never forget. Even as I type this I'm crying like a baby ... but I'm able to press on because of the joy knowing that Jesus rose from the dead and has conquered death and the grave. My great hope isn't in the knowledge that I'll see my mom again one day; rather it's in the knowledge that together we'll be singing praise to our Heavenly Father for all eternity. I'll be there, my family will be there ... will you?