But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. ... 1 Corinthians 12:9
If you weren't here yesterday and didn't get a chance to read Part 1 of this story, you can read it here.
Yesterday I left you with this discussion I needed to have with God. You see, I wasn't disobedient because I didn't want to obey Him, it was because I knew I was unable. If I told Him that I would do something that I knew I would surely fail at, then I would be lying to Him, and I couldn't lie to the God that I love so much. So I was kind of stuck... I thought. So I paced back and forth across my bedroom floor with cigarette in hand explaining all of this to God. I had the cigarette due to the stress I was feeling.
God patiently listened to everything I said without interupting. (I need to take notes on how to do that better.) He let me say everything that was on my mind. I love that about Him. I reminded Him of all those times that I had tried to quit and I couldn't. And that He knew I wasn't capable of quitting and how it would be a lie to agree to do what I knew I couldn't do and how I didn't want to lie to Him or let Him down. Then I said He would have to do it for me. I agreed that I would quit smoking at the end of the day or when I had smoked the last cigarette in my pack, whichever came first, but He would have to do it for me.
I went about my day thinking about it and reminding Him continually that He would have to do it because I couldn't. He didn't seem to be as worried about it as I was. So it worked out that my last cigarette came out of the pack at the end of the night. I went to bed knowing that I wouldn't be able to smoke when I woke up.
The next morning I got up, thought about how I needed to quit today, and reminded God that I wasn't able and needed Him to do it. That was February 9, 1998, 11 years ago. I kept waiting for that craving to hit me but it wasn't there yet. On the way to work I kept thinking about it and waiting for that craving, but it wasn't there. I didn't tell anyone about my trying to quit smoking, I just kept waiting. Now I did end up smoking a half a cigarette that day, in one puff increments. I would light it and it tasted bad so I put it out. I think it was more because I couldn't believe I wasn't craving it. I shouldn't have because it was still disobedience.
The next day I was still waiting for a craving. I still hadn't told anyone because I couldn't believe that I had quit. We were going out for a company lunch and another lady went to have a cigarette before we left so my bosses told me to go have mine. I just said "No I don't really want to." But they pushed the issue, "We know you want one, just go have it." I had to tell them so I said "It appears I have quit smoking". They didn't believe me. I briefly explained the situation, God said quit and He has quit for me. They didn't believe that either.
Remember I said that it was the Holy Spirit that had first prompted me to stop trying to quit smoking? Here's why. About a week later I was talking on the phone to a friend of mine. During the conversation I mentioned that I had quit smoking. He asked what brought that about and I told Him that God had told me too.
Now this friend is one who, if he is a Christian, there is no evidence of it, but he does pray. I saw him a few days later and we got talking about how I quit smoking and he told me that he had prayed that I would quit. I could tell by the expression on his face that God had answered his prayer in order to speak to his heart. He did not suddenly become deeply devoted to following hard after Christ, but a seed was beginning to sprout roots. Now I understood why God seemed not to be concerned about my smoking all those years that I was trying to quit.
“What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22
God didn't make me smoke, He didn't condem me for it either, but He used it for His glory, and to speak to someone elses heart. That just amazes me. I didn't quit smoking, it was not something I was capable of doing. But God quit for me. He imparted His power into my weakness to accomplish His purpose. God did not want my efforts, abilities, or my strength, He wanted and needed only my willingness to obey.
Are you willing to obey His Voice today? Not able, just willing? Then pour it out to Him in whatever your circumstances. Go ahead and explain the details to Him. He's a big God, He can take it. Then hand Him one thing, your willingness to obey.
Oh Lord I am amazed at your love. That even in the midst of my disobedience you proved yourself faithful. Thank you for being my strength. Thank you for speaking to my friend's heart. Speak to him even now and show him your unfailing love. Lord forgive me for hesitating when I should obey. Help me to obey
whatever you ask of me without even the slightest hesitation. I love you my Lord. I can't wait to see your face. In Christ - Amen
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind ~ Luke 10:27