The smell of coffee and joyful chatting surrounds me. Kids are running around with crunchy cookies in their hands. Soft music is playing in the background. It’s the sound of friendship and celebration. All is well, until a loud cry fills the room. (Whose child is this? What could have happened?)

My heart sinks—it’s my daughter! Her arm and chest are soaked. She has just spilled a cup of hot coffee on herself. Everything starts spinning: Help me get her clothes off! Find cold water! Someone, call an ambulance! I hold my baby and pray and ache and cry. The ambulance comes, giving first aid and in a short time, we are admitted into the children's hospital.

How much can change in an instant…

It was Maundy Thursday, the evening when Jesus shared the Last Supper with his disciples. The very evening when he was sold and betrayed and left to fulfill his eternal purpose—alone. Easter was coming soon, but not for me… My daughter would be in the hospital for at least ten days.

More pain filled my already mourning heart. I had lost my mother only a few months before. I missed her so much! And now, I kept blaming myself for not being careful enough to protect my little girl from the accident. I wanted so badly to pick up the phone and talk to my mother. It was hard to believe that she would never answer my calls again.

The next day, on Friday, my daughter and I left the room for a walk on the hospital grounds to catch some spring air. Suddenly, I saw my mother! There she was, with a scarf on her head, walking and swaying just like I remembered. My heart jumped with emotion. But the next moment, I remembered her grave. She was someone else's mother, a bittersweet reminder of my own…

Feeling indescribable longing, I remembered that it was Good Friday, the day of Jesus’ judgment and crucifixion. I pictured his mother weeping helplessly at the foot of the cross…Jesus’ friends had a hard day too. Their teacher had died. All their hopes were ruined. And now they were hiding, fearing death for themselves.

The next day, Saturday, the hospital was empty. Everyone who was able to do so had left to be with their family. I was there alone with my daughter. Where was Jesus that long-ago Saturday? Jesus’ body was in the tomb. And my mother had recently been buried. Today her fresh grave was crowned with flowers of longing. How much I wanted to be held in my mother’s arms! Instead, I was the mother holding her daughter as she nestled sweetly on my lap.

For Jesus’ friends and now for me, the night would be sad and long.

At dawn, somewhere between dreaming and waking, I heard an angelic choir descending near me: "Christ is risen from the dead, / Trampling on death through his death, / And to those in the graves / Giving life!"

The music got louder and louder. No, I was not dreaming. The hospital church choir had come to bring the news. The words flowed like a healing balm over my heart. An indescribable joy filled my soul: Christ is risen!

On that same Sunday long ago, at dawn, Mary Magdalene and her friends went to Jesus’ tomb to anoint his body. But he was not there. The tomb was empty. The angels announced that he was alive!

A deep peace filled my hurting and mourning heart. And then, unexpectedly, I remembered the promise: all who have fallen asleep in Jesus will be resurrected at his coming! Wow! How could I have forgotten it? Jesus overcame death! That means Mom will be resurrected one day too!

Jesus once said to a grieving woman, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-27)

I know Mommy believed. And there will come a day when we will meet again and I will melt into her embrace. But until then I will say year after year, "Christ is risen!" And I long to hear a sincere, believing answer: "He is risen indeed!"

My little girl's burns healed amazingly quickly, leaving no scars. A week after Easter we were home. During that hospital stay, God mended my heart as well. He let me taste the healing that would make me whole, that would make all of us whole.

Today, nine years later, I say again, "Christ is risen!" (I hope you can answer, ”He is risen indeed!”)

Join me in worshiping him!

"Easter Song" by Keith Green:

Throughout This Day: Say to everyone you meet, “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!”

Tags: Daily Devotional Luke 24
Photo Credit: Caroline Veronez on Unsplash