For the past two years, I tried to quit smoking. And I just could not do it. But timing is everything.
It was the most maddening thing in the world. My relationship with God was new and exciting, and I was learning what it was to truly love my life. In light of all the new love in my life, I wanted to be done with smoking. I loved it and hated it, but above all, I wanted to be done.
So I prayed for grace to quit smoking and . . . didn’t get it.
I could NOT imagine what the Lord could possibly prioritize above my smoking habit. It just didn’t seem possible that He wasn’t as concerned as I was about it. Didn’t He know that this was a crisis? Smokers have a reputation barely above that of child molesters, for pity’s sake. (Or should I say, for appearance’s sake? I think that I was more concerned with propriety than health.) Still, surely God would move immediately to rectify this enormously important problem in my life.
For two years I attempted to fix a part of me that God wasn’t on yet. Unsurprisingly, I was unsuccessful. I can’t make God move on what I decide is paramount. And I know this because I’ve tried over and over to dictate the order in which my Father should discipline me, heal me, train me, and even bless me. I’ve spent years trying to parent myself, yet God is utterly unimpressed with the “wisdom” I’m ever sharing on the subject.
God moves when He’s ready, and not a moment before that time.
Now, I know what it is to have the unction of the Spirit on me. I know what it feels like when the Cross comes and grace moves heaven and earth to support my surrender. And three weeks ago, the Spirit moved and prepared the way for the Cross to come for my smoking. I didn’t initiate anything in it – it was all Him.
It has been an agony, both physically and spiritually, but grace is here in abundance. Jesus is Lord, and when He moves, the might of heaven is in it. For two years, He didn’t stop me from trying and crying and freaking out and pitching fits and trying some more. But there was absolutely no grace given to fuel my strange fire.
Isaiah 50:11 Amplified
Behold, all you [enemies of your own selves]
who attempt to kindle your own fires
[and work out your own plans of salvation],
who surround and gird yourselves with momentary sparks,
darts, and firebrands that you set aflame!—
walk by the light of your self-made fire and
of the sparks that you have kindled [for yourself, if you will]!
But this shall you have from My hand:
you shall lie down in grief and in torment.