At a conference a few weekends ago, a misconception in my head was corrected. In all my time examining and re-examining the armor of God listed in Ephesians 6, I’d always seen the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, as the offensive weapon. As in, the only offensive weapon we have in this battleground called life on Earth.

But as the speaker, a gracious and grace-filled woman named Sarah Knott, took us through the letter to the Ephesians, she mentioned the two weapons we have in our armor: the Word of God, and prayer.

How I didn’t see that before I’m not sure. Though it’s clearly mentioned, it was always kind of a sideline for me … “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit…” That prayer part was kind of a given — a something that I thought should be going on in the background while the battle was happening.

I didn’t understand prayer as part of the battle. Integral to the battle. Half the weaponry in the offensive arsenal of our faith.

Painted Sky

With these thoughts swirling in my head, I sat down to pray one morning recently. Closing my eyes to focus on the Lord, and occasionally opening them to keep myself awake, singing His praise and thanking Him, I apologized that prayer had become a back-burner-yeah-I-ought-to instead of an active, purposeful discipline, and a blessed, beautiful fellowship.

What beautiful times I have shared with the Lord in prayer! Such sweet and heavenly moments! How do I forget and forsake again and again?

In prayer that morning I thanked Him for taking me THROUGH THE STORM and to the other side.

I remembered the story, recorded in at least three of the gospels, usually titled “Wind and Wave Obey Jesus.” In Luke 8, Jesus says to the disciples, “Let us cross over the other other side of the lake.” And they launch the boat for the journey.

But a storm comes down on the lake while they are sailing, and Jesus is asleep. The disciples were really scared (I talked a bit about this story last month, as well) and woke Jesus up, panicking about their circumstances and asking whether He cared about them at all.

And shew-wee, though at first I want to point out how silly they were for that Lord don’t you care if we drown not trusting the Lord who was right there with them all along, yet after a little deeper consideration, I recognize that their actions mirror my own.

If questioning God in the middle of a storm is a path on the road of my life, it is a well-worn one. When things aren’t going the way I think they ought to be going, my first reaction is to question Him. His love… His care and concern for me… Lord, if you love me, then why did this happen? {Sure, I’ll think about what He wants me to learn, how this too will be redeemed, but questioning, for me, usually comes first.}

And it seems a well-worn path right round the world, too — haven’t we all heard, perhaps said, those familiar words: If God is good, then why do bad things happen? If God is good then why…

A good friend of mine once pointed out that those first words of Jesus, the ones which start this story out, are integral to understanding it. Jesus said “Let’s cross over to the other side.” If Jesus says you’re going to cross over, you are going to cross over. He only always ever speaks the truth. His words never return void — and He doesn’t just speak the truth, He is the Truth.

Come what may — storm or trial, peril or sword — His words are a firmer foundation than that rocking boat the disciples were clinging to. They were going to cross over. Because He said so.

He spoke to the wind and the waves, and told them to be still. And they were still. Because He said so.

Then He asked them that simple question — so profound — Where is your faith?

It seems like my soul, too, was on a lake and in a storm — feeling isolated and tossed about as I’ve navigated the waters of re-settling in to life in an old, and new place. Struggling through some disappointment and discouragement, sewing fig leaves and hiding. And out on the lake my words were familiar — Lord, don’t you care if I drown?

And perhaps with the beautiful accent I hear in my mind, when my Mother-in-Love says to me, “My guhl” (My girl) so perhaps being still I could hear those gentle words whispered from the God-who-sees-me, “My guhl, where is your faith?” {Maybe the Lord has a South African accent, who knows.}

When I think on it, I hear those words spoken so gently, encouraging, challenging, good. He wants us to trust Him to bring us through the storm. Where are you putting your faith? He says we are going to the other side.

{And hasn’t He gone before us to prepare a place for us?}

The disciples wouldn’t have heard those words — the ones about crossing over, and the ones brimming with encouragement to trust Him, even in the storm — if they hadn’t gone to Him with their concern.

And surely we must take note — prayer is the means by which we’ll hear that familiar voice encouraging us to trust Him. And we can trust Him, even right in the middle of the storm.

If nothing can separate us from His amazing love, then we can trust Him to carry us through, to the other side of every storm.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:

For your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord {Rom. 8:39-39}

Friend, I mean what I say. You can trust Him to see you through the storm.