I caught up with an old friend of mine last night after about 18 years, and he told me his conversion story.
He was born and raised in church, but he did not receive the new birth until he was well into his 30’s. He never prayed in his life. He never read God’s Word except when his father forced him to do it. He became a rebel from all points of view, and got to the point of hating the thought of God.
His conversion came after a series of miracles took place in his life through which the Holy Spirit pointed him to Christ.
One of these miracles was the fact that he stopped smoking cold-turkey.
After a series of devastating events in his life, he fell on his knees and said the first prayer ever. He asked God for a sign. He even asked for it in a belligerent way. He said Jesus, if you really exist, prove it and make me quit smoking. He had been smoking for about 12 years, and he was up to 3 packs-a-day. He had tried to quit on his own initiative many times but was unsuccessful.
The next morning he lit a cigarette but a physical miracle took place.
He was unable to inhale the smoke as his pharynx went into spasm, and he became nauseated. The same episode repeated later. And again for a third time.
That is when he remember he had asked for this sign. He came to the realization that God just proved to him that He exists. He never put a cigarette in his mouth again, and more importantly he never desired to smoke again. It has been 6 years since that event.
For those who have never struggled with nicotine addiction this may not sound like a big deal. Those who have been through it know that a three pack-a-day smoker who failed miserably multiple times when attempting to quit does not just quit all-of-a-sudden…
Unless the Holy Spirit makes that change in him.
This was the initial step in his coming to Christ, and it was a powerful one. He is still amazed that God listened to a sarcastic and rude prayer. God’s ways are not our ways, and sometimes He goes out of His way to listen to a belligerent prayer out of the mouth of a sinner.
He proved once again that His grace is beyond our understanding, and His goodness beyond compare.
If God listens to an unconverted sinner, how much more will He listen to His Children who have put their trust in Him?
Psalm 130:1-2 “Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD! O Lord, hear my voice!…”