Diana’s Lamp

by Debora M. Coty

I was six years old and in big trouble. I’d done something horrible.

It happened at the house of Diana, my nine-year-old neighbor, a tall, gentle girl who was kinder to me than all the other big kids. A bunch of us were playing in Diana’s room when gravel crunching in the driveway announced the arrival of Diana’s father, a grizzly bear of a man – towering and burly, with a deep military voice. He was very strict and often barked orders to Diana and her little brothers, who knew they had better obey immediately.

We all knew.

When he drove up that day, everyone suddenly remembered a reason to go home. I saw the sad look on Diana’s face as the other kids fled, so I stayed.

After tiring of board games, Diana picked up her baton and suggested we go outside to twirl; a hard-and-fast rule allowed no batons or balls inside the house. I grabbed my baton and couldn’t resist trying to impress Diana by whirling it around my neck.

The sound of shattering glass froze my heart as Diana’s bedside lamp crashed to the floor. Then the huge shadow of Diana’s father filled the doorway.

Diana intentionally stepped between her father and me as his face turned crimson and a large vein on his forehead began to pulsate. “Who’s responsible for this?” his voice boomed as he eyed the shards of ruined lamp on the floor.

Immobilized by fear, I stared mutely at the mess, unable to breathe. Diana held up her baton and answered, “It’s my fault, Daddy.” She gently pushed me into the hallway and closed the door behind me.

I listened outside the door, quivering, as Diana’s dad shouted about rules, learning responsibility, and paying for a new lamp with her own money. When I heard the stinging lashes of his leather belt, I couldn’t take any more. I blindly ran, not stopping until I was in my own room, sobbing on my bed. I knew Diana was at that moment receiving the worst kind of punishment in my place. I deserved that belt, but she willingly took the pain for me.

I had to do something. I shook my piggy bank and gathered the handful of coins that fell out. Still weeping as I ran, I stumbled back to Diana’s front door. Diana answered my knock with red, puffy eyes. Yet she smiled. I was forgiven. It made my heart hurt.

I held out my pitiful offering, knowing it wouldn’t be nearly enough to pay for the lamp. But Diana shook her head. “No,” she said softly. “Keep your money. It was an accident. It’s all over now, so let’s not talk about it anymore.”

And we didn’t. Not that day. Not ever.

But I’ve never forgotten. Even now, decades later, a warm tear escapes when I think about Diana’s lamp. My friend willingly sacrificed herself on my behalf through every lash of that belt.

I realize now that in her selfless actions, Diana exemplified what Jesus did for me – and for you. He sacrificed Himself in our place, accepting our rightful punishment and loving us through every lash of the whip and pounding of nails into His flesh.

Even unto death.

How, then, can we not be moved when we consider the Sacrificial Lamb suffering so that we might have life everlasting?

“He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed – and we were healed.” Isaiah 53:5 TLB

About the author: Debora Coty is an inspirational speaker, columnist and award-winning author of 200+ articles and over 40 books, including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed series, with over 1.3 million copies sold in multiple languages worldwide. A retired orthopedic occupational therapist, Debora enjoys teaching piano, mountain hiking, choco-scarfing and smacking a little yellow ball around a tennis court. Debora lives, loves and laughs in central Florida with her longsuffering husband of 42 years and five feisty grandpals who live nearby. Deb would love to have you join her fun-loving community of BBFs (Blessed Friends Forever) at www.DeboraCoty.com

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Debora’s newest release, Too Blessed to be Stressed for Momsaddresses the heart needs of moms drowning in the churning stress-pool of busyness. In her beloved mom-to-mom, grin-provoking style, Coty offers empathy, laughs, real-life stories, practical parenting survival tips, and fresh biblical insights to help you hear Papa God’s still, small voice through life’s chaos.

Join the conversation: Has anyone ever sacrificed on your behalf?

Beautiful Scars

by Julie Zine Coleman

There is more to bearing children than labor. One Easter Sunday, the women of my family sat on the porch commiserating with my daughter-in-law, whose profile was quickly growing as her due date neared. “Your body will never be the same,” warned one of the girls. A truer statement was never said.

I remember taking a good look in the mirror after having my first child. It was a shocking dose of reality. Aside from the discouraging baby weight, the most apparent change was the stretch marks. I knew they would fade, but they would never completely disappear. At the time I mourned their presence. But I feel differently now. Thirty-five years after becoming a mom, I regard them as a permanent memorial to the great gift of bearing my children.

Someday, on the other side of death, we will enjoy perfect bodies. I don’t know about you, but I am counting on being thin in eternity. I am also counting on good knees, excellent eyesight, and no more bad hair days. But I do wonder if God’s idea of perfect and mine coincide.

What will our resurrected bodies be like? We can glean a little about them from what we are told of Jesus after his resurrection. His appearance was apparently altered. People didn’t recognize him right away for the most part. Mary Magdalene thought him to be a gardener, and the disciples on the road to Emmaus, even after conversing with him at great length, had no clue who he was. From a boat in Galilee, even after hearing him call to them, the disciples failed to recognize it was the Lord.

Then there is the ability he had to appear and disappear. Luke tells us Jesus suddenly “appeared among the disciples,” apparently going through the walls or shut door to be there. For this reason they thought he might be a ghost, but he assured them he was alive and well: “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have,” he told them (Luke 24:39 NASB). Jesus also ate on several occasions, giving further credence to this.

We know one other thing about Jesus’ resurrected body: he retained the marks from his crucifixion ordeal.

Thomas missed the first appearance of Christ in the hours following his resurrection. The disciples had tried to convince him the impossible had happened. “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe,” he stubbornly informed them (John 20:25 NASB).

Eight days later, Jesus gave him the chance to do just that. “Reach here with your finger, Thomas, and see my hands; and reach here your hand and put it into my side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing!” he told him (John 20:27 NASB).

The suffering was over, the ordeal at an end. Jesus had risen from the dead and was living,  breathing, and healthy once more. But the scars remained.

Beautiful scars.

In Revelation 5, John reports seeing Jesus standing at the throne, making ready to open the book. He describes him looking like a lamb that has been slain. Someday we will get a chance to see his scars for ourselves. They will remain a visible reminder for all eternity of what was inflicted on him for our sake. We will forever glory in what they mean: because of the terrible suffering they memorialize, we were healed.

I’m glad they will never go away. For they truly are beautiful scars.

“He was pierced through for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities. The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by his scourging we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 NASB

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300About the author: Julie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Her award-winning book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women, was published in 2013 by Thomas Nelson. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 2.39.03 PMfrom today’s comments. To enter our contest for Julie’s book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: What does the resurrection mean to you?