For several nights in a row I had felt a slight pain in my stomach while I was preaching. I didn’t think much of it—I chalked it up to be something I ate or perhaps the early symptoms of the flu. It was Saturday night, and I was exhausted from driving just over a thousand miles to a church where I would be privileged to speak all day on Sunday. I went to bed around ten and fell asleep instantly. Ten minutes later I was awakened by a sharp pain in my stomach! “It had to be those chicken McNuggets I had eaten at McDonalds for lunch,” I reasoned. I tossed and turned for the next hour and a half but the pain only grew worse. Barely able to stand, I got dressed and awakened my son-in-law with whom I was staying.
As we made our way to the hospital, my eyes were closed while I winced in pain. I knew we were going faster than the speed limit since I noticed several red lights blur past us. Once inside the emergency room the nurses hooked me to some intravenous medicines and pain killers, and I began to feel some relief. The hospital was busier than usual that night, but finally around four in the morning, a doctor ordered a CAT scan to determine the problem. A few moments later, he informed me that I was passing a kidney stone. I have some good friends that have had this experience, and I had heard that it was like having a baby. My mind began to imagine this giant orange-sized rock that needed to pass through my system. Suddenly, I hurt all over again.
The doctor ordered a heavy dose of morphine and shared with me that the stone was in a good position and should pass soon. I could get dressed, go home, and wait. I said, “Doc, how big is this thing?”
“Oh,” he said, “It’s not very impressive…about the size of a grain of sand.” A grain of sand! I was dying over a grain of sand? How could something so small cause so much agony? If this was like having a baby it was a record midget!
I decided to go ahead and preach since the morphine was good until 11:00 am. I did have several highly potent pain pills in my pocket though. As I stood for the last song before preaching, I felt an overwhelming relief come over my body. I knew that this “grain of sand” had passed and I was home free. I didn’t need the pain pills. God blessed the service, and I ate at Cracker Barrel for lunch! God was truly good.
How often do we view sin in our life as just a small “grain of sand”? We reason that others have much larger issues, and we can handle a small amount of evil without it hurting us. How wrong we are! Paul warns us in 1 Corinthians 5:6–7: “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven.” Solomon, in Ecclesiastes 9:18, states this principle: “One sinner destroyeth much good.” Would it not likewise be true that “one sin destroys much good”? In fact, the very next verse in chapter ten and verse one states: “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.”
Someone once said: “The problem with a ‘little sin’ is that it doesn’t stay little!” That little “grain of sand” caused more intense pain than I had ever experienced in my life. (I hurt less after getting blind-sided by a 250 pound college football guard.) I would have done anything for someone to magically make that kidney stone disappear. Is there sin in your life right now that you would like to be rid of once and for all? I have good news for you: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Is there a “grain of sin” in your heart right now? “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). Do not wait. Act now. Ask God to forgive you today. That little grain of sin is not going to go away on its own. If left in your life, it will cause you more pain than you can imagine. The Great Physician stands ready to help—He’s just a prayer away!