How God Answered My Prayer to Quit Tobacco

Personal testimony is not what I usually write about; it’s uncomfortable and a little embarrassing. Nevertheless, this time, I almost feel compelled, since, in another testimony to an individual who I was trying to help, I did not give God the due credit.

It was the summer and I was enjoying a walk in a new area and needed directions to a place I wanted to see. I had asked some folks for directions previously, but they were not sure about it. Then a local responded that he was heading in the same direction and would show me specifics later where his path would divert from mine.

Along the way we were discussing health strategies, since we were both exercising by walking. He said it was his lunch hour and he was spending it walking instead of eating. He was a man probably in his late twenties and a bit corpulent. He mentioned that he was also struggling with smoking, and I thought I could, by personal testimony, help him overcome this habit. I told him that, about thirty years ago, I struggled similarly. This is the point where I failed.

While normally reticent, at times I am open and disclose my heart. My desire was to help this person achieve freedom over this addiction. It was later, in my recollection of the events and what I said to him that gave me pause. I then realized a truth that previously I did not recognize: that God had showed me indirectly what I personally needed to do to defeat this specific addiction. My approach to this addiction was to pray to God to help me overcome it since my willpower and lifestyle were not helping much. There are only so many things available practically to change this habit. Well, I did change my habit and was able to leave it by substitution. What I am saying is that, in one instance, the way God led me to change, was to use my body differently. Smokers usually suffer shortness of breath and coughing, and other maladies. It seemed at this point, after much continuous prayer, He gave me a desire for an activity that strained my breath: I was swimming and holding my breath underwater. Perhaps another activity would have been as challenging for my lungs, but this one really tested me. Fairly soon, I wanted to swim better, and upon reflection, knew both consciously and unconsciously that smoking had to go. Go it did.

Back to my testimony to the man. I related to him of my long struggle with tobacco addiction, and even mentioned that I prayed to God without success. I then related to him how I had overcome smoking through adopting a competing activity. It was not immediately that I realized that God had led me indirectly to give up smoking; but when I did, I also realized I had betrayed God by saying He did not answer my prayer. Forgive me, Lord, for not giving You credit.

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