Within minutes, the joy of a newborn baby girl was extinguished and fear entered our hearts. The nurses were wheeling my bed up to a room, chatting happily about my new baby and how sweet she was. Mike was standing next to me smiling proudly, when suddenly I knew something was wrong. Hemorrhaging had started. When I became unresponsive, Mike quickly realized something was wrong as well. The funny thing was, I could hear everything that was going on. I remember the nurses panicked voices as they called for the Doctor. I remember being rushed back down to surgery in a large, stainless steel room. I remember thinking that the joy of a new baby would quickly be stripped away from my husband, because I was going to die. In the midst of the panic, I also remember having a complete peace about dying because I knew when I woke up I would be in the arms of Jesus. I remember Mike's voice saying my name. Charisse. Charisse. That's what I woke up to when I came out of surgery. I recognized his voice even with my eyes still closed and it brought me a sense of comfort. Everything would be okay.
This week, as I recalled that moment in my life, I couldn't help but think of Mary in the Bible. So much had changed for her in 3 short days. Her Lord had been honored with cries of hosanna and joy flooded her heart with hope, but it was quickly stripped away when He was brutally beaten and crucified on the cross. She went to His tomb, but He was gone. For a moment she thought all hope was gone as well. She cried in torment to the gardener, pleading with Him for answers and then...she heard Him. Mary. Can you hear Him? Her eyes had been closed. She did not recognize who was standing right before her~until He spoke her name. Mary. Compassion, love, assurance all in one word. Mary. And then, all her fears were gone. When she heard His voice, she KNEW~and her joy returned as comfort flooded over her.
This Easter, let us listen for His voice. He died a horrific death for us. He took our sins on Himself on the cross, He was crucified and laid in a tomb~but praise God He did not stay in that tomb. He arose and He wants us all to accept His beautiful gift of salvation. He is calling our names. Do you recognize His voice? Do you hear Him? Let His comfort and peace wash over you, even in the midst of a life that might seem hopeless. You might be tormented. You might feel like your joy has been stripped away and you have nothing left but sorrow. Don't give up hope. Jesus is calling your name. He wasn't just a simple carpenter. He wasn't the gardener. He IS my Savior, the Son of God. He has conquered death and has given me life everlasting. There is nothing in this world that can bring you the comfort that only He can give. Today, this Easter, listen for His voice. He is calling your name. Open your eyes and your heart and know~ everything will be okay.