A few days ago I was at the beach. It was a warm day for the beginning of October, and I had just come from body surfing in the frothy waves. Nearly all the students from my college were relaxing on the beach, and I joined a group who were playing hacky-sack on the sticky, wet sand near the water.
As we tossed the hacky-sack around, I started to think that playing this game in the sand might not be such a good idea. Several times I almost kicked sand into my eyes, but thanks to quick reflexes, my eyelids blinked shut just before the sand hit my face. I decided to play just a little longer before hitting the waves again, but the next time I kicked the ball, my left eyelid was not fast enough. A chunk of sand, about the size of half a teaspoon, flew straight into my eye.
For the rest of the afternoon several of my friends tried all they could to clean out my eye. By the end of the day, they had poured three full water bottles and about half a bottle of saline solution through my eye. After all that, we were sure we must have rinsed all the sand out. Although I stopped crying sandy tears, my eye still did not feel right. It burned, and every time I moved it or closed it or blinked, it hurt.
As the days went by, my eye appeared less red and irritated. I started to think that maybe I was imagining the pain, or that I was a wimp or a hypochondriac. Back at college, when I passed people in the hall, they would say things like, “Glad to see your eye’s lookin’ better!” or “The eye looks all healed up!” but I did not feel as good as I looked.
Still, I felt no need to go to the doctor. I had friends who were med-students, and they said my eye looked fine. Besides, I had scratched my cornea before, and it had healed on its own after a while, so I thought that was what had happened this time too. I did not think there was anything the doctor could tell me that I did not already know. I doubted his ability to help me.
But even though I ignored it, my eye tortured me. Unexpectedly, I would blink or look at something quickly, and my eye would start to itch and water with pain. I was unable to sleep at night because it was too painful to close my eyes. I was exhausted. Finally, while talking to my mom on the phone, I admitted that after four days, my eye had not gotten any better. Immediately she insisted that I go see the doctor. I laughed and said I would go, just to please her, but I doubted the doctor would find anything wrong.
The next morning I went to the doctor, and he took a single grain of clear sand out of my eye. He saw what no one else could see and did what no one else could do. He believed me when I said it hurt, and he healed me. Not only did he heal me, but the relief from pain was immediate. There was no damage to my eye, in spite of the sand rubbing on my cornea for five days. The doctor who did all this for me helped me free of charge.
The grain of sand had been tucked under my upper eyelid, hidden away, just like sin is hidden in my heart. No one can see the small sins in my heart, and no one could see the small piece of sand in my eye. I may think I’m a good person, and other people may perceive me to be a true Christian, but sin can hide in places that only Jesus, the Great Physician, can see. I may not feel my need of Christ, just as I didn’t feel the need of a doctor, but only Christ can remove the sharp grain of sin from my heart. Only He can know how I feel deep inside; only He can offer relief. Not only does He remove sin from our lives, but as immediately as we accept His promised help, we are made whole. The wholeness He offers us includes no scars, even though sin has been part of our lives for all of our past. This perfect healing He promises is free of charge.
And He spoke a parable to them: ‘Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.' (Luke 6: 39-42).
Like a hypocrite, I could not see the problem in my own eye. In addition, it took me five entire days of misery before I finally went to the doctor for help. How often do I not see the plank of sin in my own life, and how long does it take me to admit my need of Jesus? Only He can give me complete healing from sin. He is my only Savior; the Greatest Physician. May I always be quick to come to Him for help, even for freedom from the smallest unseen sins.