I have never smoked a cigarette in my life, but I lived in a family of many who did. My father, mother, and older sisters and brother's . As a small child I hated being in the house filled with smoke and would leave the table when seated with those around me who were all smoking, leaving the air filled with the stench of second hand smoke. It stung my eyes, and my throat. I vowed I'd never let anyone persuade me to get into the habit; and have never regretted making that solid conviction in my life. I made other mistakes just as bad, and have no condemnation to those who are trapped in this, but am still glad I made one right choice early in my life by not taking up smoking.
My father started smoking as a young teenager. When he reached his early 50's, he developed a cough that continued to worsen, but he kept smoking. The coughing spells got to the point where blood began to come up. He finally gave in to going to the doctor, and the diagnosis was what was expected, lung cancer. He was now 55. During this time he also suffered a ruptured disk in his back, he stopped working, and mother helped him file for disability shortly before going into the hospital to have his left lung removed. For the next and final years of his life, it was a steady and constant series of long stays in the hospital for treatments and in recovery, and he never regained full health again. I watched what this did to my mother also, as she struggled to take on the burdens my father could not longer handle, and the changes made to help her by several of us kid's. None of our lives were ever the same again. For about 4 years, he regained enough health to live at home again, but there were set backs, returns to the hospital, and the cancer returned at the end of the 3rd year, and went through the rest of his body, finally causing his death on Christmas day, of 1978, one week before his 60th birthday. Smoking and drinking through his early years took it's full toll on his body during those last years, causing agonizing suffering for him, as well as for those who loved him. During the last 4 years of his life, he had stopped smoking and drinking, and openly spoke of his regret of his reckless choices. He spoke to my mother, and us, his children and let us all know he knew he had been wrong. He was given those years I believe to bring some restoration to the relationships between him and his family, and some honest repentance before he left this world. He spoke with a minister shortly before his death, and prayed with him, asking Christ to forgive him and receive him, I know I will see my father again one day. He openly spoke of his faith with me before his death, it was one of the things God used to draw me to him shortly afterwards. I received Christ as Savior three months later, on a cold day in March of 1978. God uses many ways to get our attention, and work on our hearts, my father's death certainly was one.
Smoking also took the health of my husband, in his case it was heart disease. On July 8 1982, late one evening, he began to feel nauseated, had a hard time breathing, and had to lay down. He told me he felt pain in his chest, and down his left arm. The local doctor was called, we were told to get to the office in the nearby town as soon as possible, she would be there to meet us. I drove him to the back door, and we were let in. She confirmed he was in the midst of a heart attack and she called an ambulance to have him transported to the nearest hospital. When he arrived they immediately placed him in ICU, and the fight for his life was on. There is so much to this story that is left out here, but I knew God had prepared me for this event a long time before it happened. I also knew he would not die, but it was prayer that kept him here from this point on. He was 36 years old when he had the first heart attack, and for the next 22 years, he lived with the consequences of smoking. A third of his heart function was lost, and he had to take medications for the rest of his life. He stopped smoking and recovered enough to be able to enjoy some of his life for most of them, but there were also times when he would have relapses and need to be taken to the hospital when heart trouble occurred. Lynn was always a positive fellow, and looked at the bright side of the issues; but the suffering took a toll also. The last two years of his life, it was very difficult for him, but many never knew how hard it really was. It was between the two of us, and we knew what the doctor's had tried to prepare us for. He spoke to me several times the same as my father had, letting me know he had many regrets of the wrong choices he'd made when I and other's in his life would try to warn him to stop smoking, and he would turn a deaf ear, and continue to do as he pleased. He let me know he knew he was living out the consequences of those bad choices, and now he knew how much pain it caused other's as well as himself. Sadly, as with my father, these regrets came too late to ever regain his health. But, he also came to Christ before his death, on October 2, 2003 nine months before he died. God had answered many prayers over the years for him, but the most important one was for his eternal salvation. These bodies we live in here are only temporary, when Jesus comes in our lives; it is to be with us and help us live in this life, and prepare us for the next. Lynn had opened the door, Christ came in, and he now had the assurance of heaven. Did I pray for his healing during all those years...YES. But, Lynn was not saved and a very stubborn individual. He would not open his heart to God, insisting on having his own way for most of those years. It took knocking on heavens door constantly just to keep him alive and get him to open his heart to receive salvation. Perhaps someone else could have done a better job than I did to get this much accomplished; but I doubt it... I knew Lynn almost as well as God did. But, one thing I know; when I leave this world, he will be there waiting for me, he made that promise before he died.
Along with this, my mother suffered from smoking by what it did to her circulation. She had to have several amputations of her toes, and diabetes caused many complications; her last years she was confined to a wheelchair, and also suffered many issues which caused her death. She never stopped smoking no matter how it affected her; this caused much anguish to me as I watched her body being ravaged by the affects of this terrible habit. My brother died of heart disease from smoking, as well as other' s in my family.
When I watch someone smoking and see an attitude of stubbornness, and "don't tell me what to do", I say nothing, but my heart sinks. I know the future they may very well face; but also know from their behavior that nothing anyone says will get through to them until they are on their backs in a bed, in the same situations as my father and husband and many other family members were in. I especially think of the suffering their families will face along with them.
It's my prayer that this story will cause you to consider your choices, if your smoking; and help you to change your mind. If you are healthy; you really need to think about how precious your good health is, while you still have it.
Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1Co 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.