During the summer of 2004, I attended a Bible study about double-mindedness. We talked about how we could do something we knew wasn’t good for us, such as smoking.
I had smoked most of my life. I had grown up as an often unsupervised child and had experimented with smoking since age five. Now, at 43-years-old, I was a regular two-plus pack-a-day smoker. Although I had tried numerous times to quit, each time I failed. I failed to quit smoking so many times that I decided I must like to smoke and I was going to smoke forever.
During the Bible study, I began to think about how much sense the message made. I had witnessed two long-time smokers quit immediately due to health challenges. One was my 80-year-old grandmother who was diagnosed with breast cancer after 60 years of smoking. Her cancer was corrected with a lumpectomy, but her doctors told her she had less than a year to live if she continued smoking. Her doctors also told her she may live an additional five years if she quit smoking. She quit smoking.
The other was an aging co-worker who had smoked for 40 years and developed heart disease. She recently underwent emergency surgery to place a stent in an artery to keep it open for blood flow. Her doctors told her if she ever smoked again the stent would move and she would likely die. She quit smoking, just like that!
I left the church feeling contemplative. What if I waited as long as I could stand it before I smoked each time?
I had smoked all the way to the church and snuffed out my fairly new cigarette on the edge of my ashtray, intending to relight it when I came out. Now, I had a new plan. I put away the cigarette and closed the ashtray, semi-committed to waiting.
It was a 35-mile drive home. As I pulled onto the freeway I caught a glimpse of something in the backseat. I couldn’t see anything when I looked directly there but I felt the Holy Spirit with me in the car. Not really knowing what to do, I decided to slide my Bible and study papers onto the floorboard and invite the presence to come and sit upfront with me. I held out my right hand as if we were holding hands as I drove the rest of the way home.
As I got ready for bed I ate a nicotine lozenge, leftover from one of my many prior attempts to quit, deciding it might extend the time until I needed another cigarette.
But that craving never came. I woke up in the morning with the same lozenge partially dissolved inside my cheek. I didn’t need a cigarette.
It was three days before I told anyone. I was leaving a door open to start smoking again without anyone knowing what had happened if my “miracle” didn’t last.
As the weeks went by without any cravings at all, I began to believe the same God who parted the Red Sea for the Israelites, the same God who saved Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace is still doing miracles today! He is not only able to do miracles, but He is willing! And not for strangers, for me!
My whole life I had been a follower of Christ, but it was then I began really falling in love with Him.
Not only was I now a non-smoker, but I could be around other smokers without being triggered like I once would have. I also did not have the same adverse effects I had after attempting to quit smoking in the past.
What happened there? I can’t tell you for sure, but the Bible says it’s the truth that sets us free (John 8:32). It was truth that set my mind free from addiction. It was the Holy Spirit in the car with me giving me the gift of faith and the encouragement I needed to try one more time.
That was nearly 16 years ago. Little did I know then the experience was only the beginning of many more miracles to come as my relationship with Jesus grew.
This I know, true to His promise in John 14:21, if we love Him with all of our heart, He will reveal Himself to us and make Himself known.
I pray this blesses you and helps you to believe for your miracle. He is able and willing.