I do not know how often I have searched the Spirit of Prophecy to find answers, but it has been many. I have never been disappointed. In fact, it has been a treasure. One of the most revealing excerpts I found focused on tobacco.
Looking for Answers
I was not looking for a specific answer the day I scanned the health magazine, but it came, for a question I had asked five years earlier. At the time, I lived in the world, and my entire behavior exposed a careless mind. I was the father of a new baby boy, and I took him for granted. I smoked the toxic weed, even while I assumed the role of parent.
Then, on Father’s Day, I awoke to find my son, Isaac, had died. I tried to breathe life into his little body, but it did not help. He was only six weeks old. Apparently he had died of crib death or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as S.I.D.S. The reason for his passing could not be explained, but I always wondered why.
Ironically, tragedy became the pivot of my search for life in Jesus Christ. I did not know how Isaac had become a key toward true surrender to God, nor did I realize how soon my question of “Why, God, why?” would be answered.
Brought to My Knees
I wish I could say that these horrifying circumstances meant instant conversion, but God knew the hardness of my heart. However, in a short time, providence brought me to my knees in prayer, and I claimed the promises of His Word. Within a year I gave Him my so-called life, and He removed my desire for all chemicals, including tobacco.
Only afterwards did I discover the true health message in Testimonies to the Church and in Counsels on Diet and Foods. Cooperating with Jesus meant a clean mind, which paved the way to endless knowledge. Through my surrender and my diligent reading of Scripture, He kept His promise, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6. I became a new man, always ready for more wonderful truth. That is why I was reading the health magazine.
The article made reference to Selected Messages, Book 2, 467. “The infant lungs suffer, and become diseased by inhaling the atmosphere of a room poisoned by the tobacco-user’s tainted breath. Many infants are poisoned beyond remedy by sleeping in bed with their tobacco-using fathers. By inhaling the poisonous tobacco effluvia, which is thrown from the lungs and pores of the skin, the system of the infant is filled with poison. While it acts upon some as a slow poison, and affects the brain, heart, liver, and lungs, and they waste away and fade gradually, upon others it has a more direct influence, causing spasms, fits, paralysis, palsy, and sudden death. The bereaved parents mourn the loss of their loved ones, and wonder at the mysterious providence of God, which has so cruelly afflicted them, when Providence designed not the death of these infants. They died martyrs to the filthy lust of tobacco. Their parents ignorantly, but none the less surely, kill their infant children by the disgusting poison.…”
I read it several times and realized the grim responsibility of my actions. At that moment, the impact and consequences of my ignorance loomed in my mind. My selfish, narrow existence and temporary gratification carried an enormous price. I knew what I was, and the proof lay in the grave.
Dear readers, I still tremble, because it is only part of a bigger story. The only way I can tolerate such failure is to remember God’s mercy and His promise: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteous-ness.” 1 John 1:9.
If You Want Freedom
I know that there are many others searching for answers. If you want freedom, do not wait for tragedy to happen before you fall down to your knees in prayer. “Ask, and it shall be given you…” Matthew 7:7. Then remember, “The Scriptures are the great agency in the transformation of character…If studied and obeyed, the Word of God works in the heart, subduing every unholy attribute.” The Faith I Live By, 116.