Testimony of God's Grace

by Richard Smith

Brother Richard Smith passed into the presence of the Lord in 1993. His path was not a smooth one but the Lord proved Himself faithful. Some years before he died he wrote this testimony. It is both a warning and a great encouragement, a testament to the wonderful grace of God that is able to save to the uttermost those who put their trust in Him. It is also a particular encouragement to any who may be battling strong holds of the enemy in their lives. And so, in Richard’s words, with only minimal editing....

I moved to Robbins, North Carolina and went into business in 1960. I still went to church at the Bible Tabernacle for awhile. There is a very clever way that Satan can work. He talks to us through our mind. The lie he told me was if I earn my money in Robbins, I should go to church there and not drive the 52 mile trip to Southern Pines and back. God placed us there and if it had been 100 miles God would have made a way.

I started to have problems with pain in my chest in 1960. Then in 1963 we started going to different churches in and around Robbins but we just were not satisfied. Things began to happen so I stopped going to church altogether. In other words I began to backslide and started drinking and gambling and running with the wrong crowd, fair weather friends, who are no longer around. I was born again and a child of God can do anything the flesh craves for if you give in to it, but it grieves the Holy Spirit in you and you know you have sinned. The more you sin the easier it gets to be. When people would talk to me and tell me Jesus loved me and wanted me to get back in church, I could feel the Spirit of God and knew they would be telling me the truth. The more people prayed to God in my behalf the Lord began to give different people a burden for me. Of course the Devil had a good grip on me. Thirty days before Jesus took over, my wife had a dream that I had a heart attack and died. Bertha, my wife, told me the dream and warned me I had better change my way of living.

I don’t think I told anyone, but a week or two before I had my heart attack I stopped at a fortune teller coming from a car race. I had been drinking very heavy. When I went in she had a sad look on her face and told me that she did not want to tell me anything about my personal future. I thought that strange. As I said before, I was drinking and demanded to know what she did not want to tell me. These people can really look into the future (note 2 Timothy, chapter 3, verses 4-11). She told me that I was in the oil business and other things that were true. She told me that my wife and I were going to be separated, be apart soon. I pressed her for answers. She said permanently. I took it lightly, but later the truth hit me. She was telling me I was going to die.

Heart Attack
On November 15th at about 9:30 at night my wife and son, Wesley (he was 6 years old at the time), were watching TV and eating popcorn. I told them I was hurting in my chest and I was going to take a pain pill and go to bed. I awoke about 11:00 and knew I was having a heart attack. I was in a cold sweat and my left arm felt like someone was trying to tear it off my body. The pain in my chest was awful. My wife had heard me before I awoke making sounds and new something was wrong. She called our oldest son, R.L., and our daughter, Pat and her husband. They arrived about the time I awoke. I told them to get me in the car and get me to the hospital as soon as possible. I was begging God to forgive me for turning my back on him. I really believe that God was going to kill me. (Hebrews 13, verse 3). My daughter called Earl Williamson, who drove one of my oil trucks. He called a lot of Christians and preachers to pray for me. He also knew how to get a hold of Jesus for mercy. I don’t know who got through to Jesus but someone did.

Everything worked like clockwork. Dr. Height met us at the emergency room and started working on me. I hung in the balance for it was a bad one. On Monday morning I had a blood clot occur but Jesus busted it into small pieces and it went into both lungs. My heart was damaged badly and my diaphragm was ruptured. I still hung in the balance. No one thought I would pull through except my wife. God gave her faith to believe that I would. I thank God daily for giving me a wife that loved me, but more important, she also loved Jesus and knew how to pray to run the Devil away.

The people at the Bible Tabernacle really stood with us. Also a lot of other churches and people we knew in several states were praying and requesting prayer for me. I stayed in the hospital 38 days, but from December 30th, 1970 to March 1971 I was in and out of the hospital almost all the time. I was really fighting and suffering almost to the point that I wanted to die. The doctors sent me to Duke hospital in Durham, NC. They did a heart catheterization. It showed that I had 4 blockages and needed open heart surgery. This was done on April 6, 1971.

I just talked to Jesus and told him I was trusting him and if he took me through the operation or to heaven I could not lose either way. He gave me a peace and calm that only could come from him. Philippians, Chapter 4, verse 7: “And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

They put me to sleep at 7:15 and I awoke at 5:30 that evening. The Devil tried to kill me for sure. I had morphine as often as they could give it to me, but at times only prayer would run the Devil out of my room. I got to where I could tell when the Devil or his evil spirit came in and I would tell my wife and we would pray and the pain would go away. We could tell when the evil spirit left the room. Praise God for his love and peace which passes all understanding.

They took a vein out of my leg and did 3 bypasses. One they could not do anything about. The surgeon told me I would probably have about 5 years, but Praise God it has been over 13 years. The doctors told me that smoking was out of the question. My heart and lungs both were bad. Would you believe I was stupid enough to try and smoke again! Nicotine is one of the most habit forming drugs in the world. When we go to excess on anything it takes control of us, but be sure it is a demon. Most people don’t like to admit it. I had hid the cigarettes all around in coat pockets and sneaked and smoked because I was ashamed for my wife to know what I was doing. Be sure your sins will find you out. My doctor told me to smoke and die or quit and live longer. With God’s help and praying and walking the floor I finally left them alone.

Deliverance From Nicotine
Eleven months had passed since I smoked a cigarette. They still smelled good to me and I still wanted to smoke at times. BUTone morning I awoke and a lump in the mid section of my stomach felt big as a grapefruit. It was a craving and wanting a cigarette like nothing I had ever experienced in my life. I have never wanted anything like that before or since. I really believe that God permitted Satan one more chance to test me or kill me. Praise God he knew before that I would stand the test. Three days and two nights of praying, begging God to help me and walking the floor from one end of my house to the other, telling Satan he was defeated on the cross by Jesus and through his blood that was shed, paid our sin debt and saved us and we are more than conquerors through him that loved us (Romans, Chapter 8, verse 37). What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us. God puts us through these trials to teach us to trust him so he can bless us. 1 Peter, Chapter 4, verses 12-13: “Beloved think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you as though some strange thing happened unto you. But rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”

I will tell you this gladly, brothers and sisters: when that demon of nicotine went out of me, I rejoiced and still am rejoicing. Now I cannot stand to smell cigarette smoke. With God’s help we can overcome anything. Philippians, Chapter 4, verse 13 tells us, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say “Rejoice.” Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God and the Peace of god which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.

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