If You’re real, Lord, and You care about me as an individual, then You’re going to have to take this smoking addiction from me. I don’t have the strength to give it up. You know how many times I’ve tried. I want to be baptized, but I know my smoking is holding me back. If You don’t take it from me, then I might as well go back to how I was before.” With that rather ungracious and negative conclusion to my prayer, I got into bed.
I had been smoking 40-60 cigarettes a day for many years and had just completed a five-day “Breathe Free” program at my local church in my latest attempt to quit this addiction. However, at the end of those five days, I was still smoking. Discouraged at my failure to kick the habit, I finally turned to the Lord in desperation. In the past, the challenge of coping with the withdrawal symptoms had always been too much for me. In fact, one time when I was off nicotine, my mother got so frustrated with my anger and short temper that she bought me a packet of cigarettes. Throwing them at me, she said, “I’d rather you smoke than be the way you are at the moment!”
The morning after my prayer of desperation, I found I no longer craved cigarettes. From that day to this, I have never smoked. The Lord took away the addiction, and I did not suffer any withdrawal symptoms. I was finally able to function free of the tobacco that had ruled me for so many years. Praise God!
I shared this part of my testimony with some teenagers at a school recently as well as in a sermon entitled “A New Creation Before the New Creation.” This answer to prayer about smoking not only showed me that God was real but that He loved and cared for me and was willing to work in my life. When I finally acknowledged my insufficiency, I gave Him permission to show His power. I am truly grateful that God is changing me into a new creation and that nothing will taint or mar the beautiful New Earth that he will soon create.
Not only have we experienced God’s transforming power in our own lives, but in our work as AFM Field Directors we are blessed to encounter other individuals whose lives have been touched by the Holy Spirit. Several of the countries where our dedicated teams of missionaries serve are not friendly to the open proclamation of the gospel, so it restricts our ability to share stories. However, as we travel to these places and provide pastoral and strategic support, we rejoice with our missionaries over victories won. Nothing is too hard for God. We praise Him for His kingdom advances during 2018 and look forward to more victories in 2019. Please join us in praying that many more will find freedom and victory in Christ.