I had a kidney stone. Have you ever had one? It's not an experience for the faint of heart. The pain is often called "the worst pain ever", and I've even had several women tell me it ranks up there with birthing a child.
It started in the morning as a faint burning sensation during my standing visits to the Men's room, and became a pain that blossomed over the course of a few hours into what suddenly felt like appendicitis. A friend at work drove me to the ER, and it was on the way that the pain moved to my back, and I realized that it was probably a kidney stone.
A CT scan confirmed that, and found that the stone was about two millimeters in diameter; just about the size of a large mustard seed.
Matthew 17:20: And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
I didn't need to move a mountain, I needed to move a mustard seed!
Now, here's where things became interesting. I knew that, prior to my conversion, I would have screamed, "Why are You letting me suffer like this??" Instead, I said, "Lord, I know that this pain is temporary. Please help me to move this stone." You see, I know a little something about the movement of stones, and of pain.
There's a twitter account that I follow called AsteroidMisses. Whenever an asteroid comes anywhere near the Earth, they report it. The same day that I worried about my mustard seed sized stone, a rock 205 meters wide passed within 26 lunar distances (that's 26 times the orbit of the moon) at about 26 kilometers per second. This carried enough kinetic energy to deal a gigaton of destructive force should it have struck us. To put that into perspective, Castle Bravo, the largest above ground nuke the US has set off, weighed in at 15 megatons. AsteroidMisses reports similarly sized stones passing within similar distances nearly every day. So you see, I have faith that the Lord could move my mustard seed.
As bad as my pain was, and as crazy as this might sound, I've had worse. I've been having migraine headaches since I was about nine years old, and wether you believe it or not, I assure you that the pain of a full strength migraine is as bad if not worse than a kidney stone, at least for me. As geeks like to say, your mileage may vary.
There came a point in my life where I honestly considered suicide, rather than face another headache, and it wasn't all that long ago. Even the time between the headaches becomes sorrowful, because you live in fear of the pain that you know is coming. You become angry, superstitious, and afraid. It's hard to find joy in life when you know pain so bad you'd bargain your eyesight away rather than face it again.
I knew that there was something missing in my life; I had been hearing Christ calling me for years, and tried desperately to fill that yearning with other things. When I finally surrendered to Him, I learned that my pain, sharp as it is, is fleeting. You see, there was another stone that God moved.
Mark 16:3: And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?Mark 16:4: And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.Mark 16:5: And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.Mark 16:6: And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
This experience hurt, yes, but it was bearable. It was bearable because I knew that this little pebble was easily moved by the hand of He who has kept us all safe in the midst of a cosmic hail storm since time began, and that I have the promise of the Son of the Father, Him who does not lay behind the tomb stone, that no matter what pains this life might bring me, there is another life waiting for me.