Jun 26, 2018

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The Fire

The Fire

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we shall not fear”

(Psalm 46:1-2a)

Bob and Mary had been travelling all day. It was late and their little son Peter was very tired. Bob shut and locked the steel door to their hotel room on the 14th floor and retired to bed. But soon they smelled smoke. When Bob opened the door a crack he saw fire in the hallway. They decided it was safer to stay in their hotel suite. The air got hotter. They looked out their window and saw there was no balcony or fire escape.  They heard screams from other hotel guests outside in the corridor. They began to pray for help. They thought at least the strong steel door to their apartment would protect them. Wouldn’t it? The walls got hotter and hotter. Their son, Peter, crawled onto his mother’s lap and began to cry. They were desperate. Suddenly, they saw a fireman in their room spraying a water hose on the walls to keep them from crumbling. Soon firemen broke through their door and saw Bob, Mary, Peter and the fireman and ushered the family down the stairs and out onto the sidewalk to safety. Later, the fire chief was scratching his head for two reasons: First, the apartment door was not made of steel, as Bob had thought. It was hollow and made of wood and should have burned; and second, the fire chief could not account for the brave fireman who had somehow gotten into the room on the 14th floor, before the door was broken down, and soaked the walls with water. This man was not part of his fire brigade. 1

Other Relevant Scripture:

Then [after he had thrown Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into the fire] “King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up quickly. He said to his counsellors, ‘Was it not three men that we threw bound into the fire?’ They answered the king, ‘True, o king.’ ‘But I see four men unbound, walking in the middle of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the fourth has the appearance of a divine being.’” 2

Bible Study Discussion Questions:

  1. Bob relied on the steel door to protect them. He also relied on prayer. Which proved reliable in the end?
  2. What are your thoughts about the brave fireman who kept the walls from crumbling?
  3. Why was it important to the story that when firemen were able to get into the apartment, they saw a fireman was already there watering down the walls? Was he the family’s saviour?
  4. Have you ever experienced a time of clear and present danger and prayer played an important part in how things turned out for the best?
  5. What are the similarities between the two stories?

1The idea for my story is in large part based on a story I read published in Guideposts Magazine about a Texas family caught in an apartment fire and miraculously saved.

2This is a translation found used by Jewish people, as found in their English translation of the Aramaic text. The NRSV reads, “the fourth has the appearance of a son of God;” some Christian commentators say, “the fourth has the appearance of the Son of God.”  Bonus Discussion  Question: Which translation are you most comfortable with? Why?

Written by Rev. Heather Whitehouse, Chaplain, Ontario Chapter, The King’s Daughters and  Sons, June, 2018.

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