Photo: Brian Stansberry https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Broyles-tobacco-barn-tn1.jpg

A Drunken Tobacco Farmer Delivered

February 11, 2019

He swept out the old tobacco barn and started praying in the very place where he had once planned to end his life.

By Eugene Marshall

W

hen God reached me, He reached one of the worst characters in my neighborhood. In 1915, I was a wicked, sinful man—a drunkard and gambler with seemingly no hope on earth.

On the farm in Virginia, I raised tobacco, and at one time there were 28,000 sticks of tobacco in the barn. I also drank whiskey and used to say I would drink up all my profits and go to Hell, and my wife could go back to her parents. When the Gospel story came my way, I was fixing to go on another drunk—it had happened many times before. Often, my wife and little baby were left with hardly enough to eat and scarcely any clothes to wear while I got drunk. Afterward, I would come into that home in a drunken condition and shoot at the cats or anything else.

Then God lifted me out of that sinful life. I went to an altar and prayed, and left all my sins and burdens there, and the Lord took them out of my life and gave us a happy home.

I thought I couldn’t possibly give up raising tobacco, because it was all I knew how to do. I needed to make a living.

At first, I thought I couldn’t possibly give up raising tobacco, because it was all I knew how to do. I needed to make a living: the mortgage against our home was for $1969, and we were getting further behind on it every day. However, God provided a good job, and soon the mortgage was paid.

I swept out the old tobacco barn where I used to chew and blaspheme, and started praying there. That was also the place where I had once tried to end my life. That had happened one night when my wife had gone to pray by her bedside for her drunken husband. I left a note for her under my dinner plate that said, “You will find my body in the old tobacco barn, and my soul in Hell.” I went to the barn and tied the rope around my neck, but then I heard a voice. It was the voice of my wife down by the bedside praying. God prevented me from doing that awful deed.

Some years after God saved me, a minister came to Virginia preaching restitution. After the sermon, he asked me about my lack of spiritual progress. He said, “When you get down to pray, what are you looking at?” I said, “A five-dollar gold piece—and it gets bigger all the time.” He asked for the story behind the gold piece, and I told him it happened when I drove my employer to church one morning. As she stepped out of the carriage, a five-dollar gold piece dropped from her purse and hit the sand. She didn’t see it, so I just put my number ten on it to hide it. After hearing this, the minister told me I would have to make restitution for it.

I climbed into my buggy with my wife and child and started for home. As the old mule’s hooves hit the road, they seemed to say, “Make res-ti-tu-tion! Make res-ti-tu-tion!” For five miles that mule preached restitution to me.

Later that evening, I climbed into my buggy with my wife and child and started for home. As the old mule’s hooves hit the road, they seemed to say, “Make res-ti-tu-tion! Make res-ti-tu-tion!” For five miles that mule preached restitution to me. When we reached home, I was glad to put the mule in the stable and go to bed. However, my conscience kept bothering me. As I tossed and turned, the bedsprings seemed to be saying, “Res-ti-tu-tion! Res-ti-tu-tion!” Finally I told the Lord if He would let me live until morning, I would make the restitution, and then I was able to turn over and go to sleep. 

The next morning I said, “Wife, don’t cook any breakfast for me. I’m going.” I got behind the mule and traveled five miles. I rapped at the woman’s door, and when she answered, I told her, “Here is a five-dollar bill. I want to make restitution.” She listened to my story and gave me her blessing.

I thought that was the end of making restitutions, but God resurrected my memory of past actions. It cost me two hundred dollars before all my restitutions were made. Now I am paid up; God has given me the victory!

From my years of using tobacco, my lungs were all corrupted by the time I was saved, but I wrote to Portland and they sent an anointed handkerchief. I took it and looked up to God. He did not heal me instantly of the tumor, but I continued to look to Him and say, “Lord, You healed others and You surely will heal me.” God did heal me; He took away the tumor as if it had never been there. I thank and praise Him, and I am rejoicing today that God delivered such a wicked man as I was.

About the author

Eugene Marshall received salvation in 1915 when workers from the Apostolic Faith held special meetings in eastern Virginia. In the years following, he corresponded with the Portland headquarters and attended several camp meetings.