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Grains of Sand

by Carol Elaine Loperena

green sandbag on black plastic tarp

When I wrote the children’s song, Grains of Sand, I never dreamt that I would be thinking about it as I filled up sandbags to be used to fight the flooding of the Sheyenne River in North Dakota. 

Grains of Sand in your hand, God knows how many.
Hairs on head, strands of thread, God knows how many.
God knows exactly how we feel.
Grains of sand, in your hand. God knows how many....Purchase Info

As I remembered the song, it brought to mind the fact that God knows our every need and provides for us in so many different ways.

What would we do if the Sheyenne River, which flows past our backyard, went from it's normal 5 feet to a major flood level of 21-22 feet as predicted? We felt overwhelmed with the preparations and thought of what would happen if the water breached our house. We prayed and waited for answers.

For us, the answer arrived when we came home one evening to find that some sandbag angels had been to our house to shore up our backyard against the rising waters. That was such an act of kindness and self-sacrifice that touched our hearts so deeply. And it inspired us and renewed us so that we, too, could fill bags and bags full of tiny, tiny grains of sand.

I thought about how one tiny little grain of sand by itself, seems so small and insignificant, and yet when together with millions of other grains, will fill a sandbag. And that sandbag, put together with hundreds of other bags, will be enough to make a wall strong enough to keep the floodwaters at bay. We often think of ourselves in that way, so insignificant. Yet God realizes the potential of every single one of us. He knows our weaknesses and our strengths. He can take them and blend them with the weakness and strength of others, to accomplish so much more than we can on our own.

During the flooding a sign on the corner street of our little downtown read "We are praying for sandbaggers today at Expo." As you can tell from the sign, we had a lot of people praying for us. They know that if we invite God into our crisis, we will find that peace of knowing He is near. As Sheyenne flowed to heights that it had never reached before, we could remember how Jesus stilled the waters in the Sea of Galilee  You are invited to read about this in the Bible in the book of Mark, chapter 4 and be reminded also of how Jesus not only calmed the storm, but He calmed the fears and anxiety of the disciples.

Where is your church in time of community need? In our community folks came together regardless of the chuch they belonged to. The grains of sand are tiny reminders that as churches we need to come together in service. What is your community facing? Whether it is a flood of water, or of homelessness, or of unemployment, it is an opportunity to work together as children of God and in service to one another.

As you go into your community, may you find strength in the company of others and courage to be the 'sandbagger' that brings your community together for in-reach.

sandbags line up along the river bank

Text edited by Lois Monson. Words and melody of the song, Grains of Sand, by Carol Loperena and musical arrangement by Lois Monson.

This devotional (excluding photos and song) is allowed to be reprinted for use in church newsletters or sermons as well as social networking venues. Please list JoySoul Corporation as the copyright holder as is shown at the bottom of this page. For other reprints, permission and/or licensing may be obtained by contacting JoySoul Corporation at 701-308-0594 by text or

First publication of the Grains of Sand devotional at in June, 2009. Second publication of devotional with editing updates at in September 2016. Music publication in 2000.

Usage Allowances: each sermon (excluding photos) is free to be shared in part or in whole for non-commercial usage. Examples of free usage include church newsletters or sermons as well as social networking venues. Your usage is contingent upon referencing JoySoul Corporation as the copyright holder. For other reprints, permission and/or licensing may be purchased by contacting JoySoul Corporation at 701-308-0594 or

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