God Punished His Son For Your Sin
A distressed father sat at the bedside of his comatose son, hurt playing basketball. At a crucial point in the game, the 16-year-old lunged for an errant pass going out of bounds. As he toppled over a spectator's chair, one of its legs caught him in the stomach and damaged vital organs. Because he felt little pain, the teen continued to play the game's final minutes while he hemorrhaged internally. By the time the pain grew enough to warrant a trip to the hospital, it was almost too late. The doctors worked frantically to save him, but the outcome was uncertain.
Though the son eventually recovered, those awful hours of waiting for the slightest signs of recovery forced family members to ask questions they'd never before faced. The father was alone on his bedside shift one evening when the pastor visited. Trembling with emotion, the father asked, "Will God kill my son to punish my sin?"
"No," said the young minister, searching for words that would comfort and grant renewed trust in the God this father now so desperately needed. "The Lord's not punishing your son for your sin. He couldn't, because God punished his son for your sin."
Citation: Bryan Chapell, The Wonder of It All (Crossway, 1999); quoted in Men of Integrity (March/April 2001)
A Free Man
One day in the spring of 2001, Ken Waters awakened in his own bed for the first time in 19 years. Nineteen years ago Ken Waters was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted in a Massachusetts courtroom of first-degree murder. Devastated, his sister, Bette Anne Waters, was convinced of her brother's innocence and refused to accept the outcome of the trial. A single mother of three, Bette went to law school for the express purpose of overturning her brother's conviction.
After studying recent convictions overturned by DNA evidence, Bette scoured the courthouse to see if any DNA evidence was available from her brother's trial. She knew it was a longshot because most evidence is destroyed after 10 years. Her heart was pounding as she awaited the response from the courthouse clerk. Within minutes she was informed that the DNA evidence was still intact.
There was only one more question. Would the DNA evidence exonerate her brother? The testing that followed clearly showed this was not Ken Waters' DNA. Waters was a free man.
It was an emotional scene as Ken's mother and sister, Bette Anne, wept and embraced him. Though costly, Bette's devotion helped free her brother. It was worth every bit of sacrifice.
Citation: David Slagle, Lawrenceville, Georgia; source: "The Today Show" (3-15-01)
Gave His All To Save A Life Of Another
Jeff Leeland had just accepted a teaching position at Kamiakin Junior High in Seattle, Washington. The family had endured months of Dad's driving to and from work before the family could relocate from their previous home.
As winter struggled toward spring in 1992, Jeff and Kristi heard the devastating news: "Your baby boy has cancer. Michael needs a bone marrow transplant." The good news was that Michael's six-year-old sister, Amy, was a perfect match for the transplant. But Jeff's insurance company wouldn't pay for it. A tiny clause in the contract coldly stated that Jeff had to be on the job for at least a year before they would cover a transplant. He had only been teaching in the new job for six months.
By March, Michael's need for a transplant became urgent. If he couldn't receive the new marrow soon, his illness would progress quickly, and he would die. The Leelands needed to raise an impossible sum of $200,000 by May.
Fellow teacher Joe Kennedy told his class about Mr. Leeland's situation. Dameon, a seventh grade boy who walked with a limp and struggled in special education classes, heard about Mr. Leeland's son, Michael, and made a visit to Jeff's house.
"Mr. Leeland, don't make a big deal out of this…if your baby's in trouble, I want to help out." Dameon, the kid others teased, reached out his hand and stuffed 12 five-dollar bills into the hand of a teacher who had made a difference in his life. It was the boy's life savings.
Word got out about "Dameon's gift." Some kids organized a walk-a-thon. Others contacted a local newspaper. Others held a car wash. "Teenagers," Jeff says, "are pre-adults in limbo-land, waiting around for something important to do." Michael became important.
The Kamiakin kids' wave of compassion poured out across Seattle. On Friday, May 22nd, a man walked into the bank with a check for ten thousand dollars. One week after Dameon's gift, Michael's fund grew to $16,000. By late May, area TV stations picked up the story. The response from the news stories was overwhelming. By May 29th, Michael's fund grew to $62,000. The Leelands were boosted with hope when the hospital moved Michael's transplant back by two weeks.
On Friday, June 5th, the fund had grown to $143,000. Monday, June 8th: $160,000. Tuesday, June 9th: $185,000. When a TV news broadcast pronounced victory for Michael, the Kamiakin Junior High kids went crazy with happiness. Only four weeks after Dameon's gift of $60, the Michael Leeland Fund totaled over $220,000.
Michael got the marrow transplant. He lived. Dameon, the boy who gave sacrificially so another could live, accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior after becoming close with Michael's family. Having struggled for years with physical problems of his own, Dameon died from complications after he got an infection in one of his legs.
Michael Leeland lives on to tell Dameon's story. Dameon, the unlikely hero, gave his all to save the life of another. And in the process, he received life everlasting.