Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to you out of that dead end, emptyheaded life you grew up in. He paid with Christ's sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately at the end of the agesbecome public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It's because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God. -1 Peter 1:18-21 (The Message Bible)
Receive and experience the amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, deep, deep within yourselves. -Philippians 4:22 (The Message Bible)
The amazing grace of Jesus Christ be with you! - 1 Thessalonians 5:28 (The Message Bible)
On a cold winter night in February 2015, suspected heart trouble sent me to the hospital. I was whisked in, bypassing the emergency room, straight to the Clinical Observational Decision Unit.
This all came about because I had been having lung congestion. I'd tried to get medicine called in to my pharmacy that I thought would help, an inhaler and cough medicine, but the doctor's office wanted to see me before prescribing medicine. The doctor's office said I could come that afternoon and they'd work me in to see a doctor, although my regular doctor wouldn't be available.
The doctor who examined me listened to my lungs and said they were all clear. To rule out heart trouble she gave me an EKG right there in her office--a heart test. She observed that my "left ventricle was down" on the test, and was pushing me to go to the hospital and get it checked out. When I hesitated--I didn't want to spend the money--another doctor came in, telling me also that they both thought it best I go in to the hospital. So I did, and found myself staring up at the ceiling in the Observation Unit.
Luckily I was there for only one night. They ran heart test after heart test on me. By the next afternoon the doctor cleared me saying that things looked good enough with my heart and that I could go on home! Yay!
But I knew the bill was yet to come. Just that one day and night in the hospital cost $10,000. After the insurance was figured in, the cost to me came down a lot, to $816.36. Even at that, when I showed my husband the bill, all I could ask was, "How are we going to pay that?" We live on a very small fixed income and can barely manage what bills we have.
Then an acquaintance suggested I call the "Help" phone number listed on the bill. So I did, and they sent my information on to “Charity Care.” Charity Care is what they call their extra help program for patients who don't have financial means beyond their insurance to pay their hospital bill. In my mind I see this as a help out, not a hand out. We anxiously waited to hear if the program would be able to help in my case.
Finally this past week the letter came in the mail. I was nervous as I opened it, then read: we would not have to pay any amount on the bill--we were receiving a 100% discount! A 100% discount! Paid in full. That was the best piece of news that my husband and I have had in a long time. I cannot begin to describe to you how this felt, but for someone struggling to get by each day, the feeling was such a powerful lift to our lives.
It went beyond the hospital bill for me. This experience has also given me a better picture of God's grace. With the Easter season here, I thought of God's son Jesus dying on the cross, his heart full of love for the world. Rather than worrying about how we can account for all of the sin and problems in our lives, how we can pay for God's forgiveness, instead we get the Good News that all has been "paid in full.” This was no small amount, either, beyond what we can imagine.
Through God's son Jesus we have an assurance that God forgives our sins, and we don't need to go on living under the burden of something we don't see a way to change by our own power. It took a bill paid in full for me to understand to a new level.
Jesus used real life parables in his time to explain the things of God. I think God still does that for us in our time as well! Who knew what meaning a simple 100% discount, to someone on a fixed income, would mean so much more!
Alleluia and Amen!
When has some one in your life given you grace, lately?
How have you shown grace to others?
How have you given thanks to God for his grace to you?
Prayer: Dear God, we thank you for your amazing grace shown to us through Jesus, for your forgiveness of our sins when we call upon your name to help us. As we celebrate the risen Christ in the world this season of Easter, we pray for you to help us to show grace to others, and to live in ways that tell let your grace be known around the world. We pray this in the Holy name of your son Jesus, Amen.
About Marci McGowan: Marci has been a regular leadership member with DisciplesNet Church since 2010 and often contributes devotionals, artwork, and wisdom to share with our viewers. Marci is a graphic artist and writer, and is a member of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Asheville, North Carolina, USA.
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