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Amazing and Unexpected Grace

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

“‘If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us! But even if he will not, know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the golden statue that you set up.’ Then King Nebuchadnezzar was startled and rose in haste, asking his counselors, ‘Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?’ ‘Certainly, O king’” they answered. ‘But,’ he replied, ‘I see four men unfettered and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God.’ Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.’” (Daniel 3:17-18, 91-92, 95)

When we have the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, we journey through the fire— or a very difficult time — and know whether we continue in our earthly journey or physically die, our journey continues.    This was a good message, but I kept feeling there was more to this story. 

Then I realized Nebuchadnezzar saw there was a fourth man who looked like a son of God walking in the fire with the other three men, unhurt. In this story Nebuchadnezzar was probably the most unlikely person to see what he saw, but God loves unbelievers and believers. Before this happened, it could have been possible Nebuchadnezzar didn’t know what he needed to know.

The second part of this story is about those times when we have been somewhat like Nebuchadnezzar, have doubted our faith or just didn’t know what we didn’t know. Grace amazingly and unexpectedly happens even when we don’t earn it or deserve it.   Our eyes are opened like Nebuchadnezzar’s or even Paul’s on the road to Damascus, and we are unexpectedly gifted with a little glimpse of God.  

I experienced two significant illnesses in my life. One illness occurred when I was a child and the second one during middle age. Doubt and fear intermingled with desperate prayer and faith for a long time. Then one day I realized there had been a turning point with healing. Grace happened, and I realized the illnesses had become blessings. They were part of my becoming who I was meant to be.   Two gifts from these blessings were the decisions to become a nurse and be a part of Christ’s healing ministry at Avera.  


God of Grace and Mercy,

thank You for the gift of Grace given to all, regardless of our flaws and shortcomings.

Grant that we may remain open to recognizing Your Grace.


Marcile Pederson
Nurse Consultant/Educator, Avera Education & Staffing Solutions

DANIEL 3:14-20, 91-92, 95 ● DANIEL 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56 • JOHN 8:31-42

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