What Do You Know?
It was 1989 and Daddy was dying. I had flown to South Texas to be by his side, facing many unknowns about his condition. His doctors weren’t sure what was going on. No cause. No answers. No cure. I stood looking out the hospital window, not sure I could bear losing him. How would Mom survive without him? She was dependent on Dad for everything and had never worked outside the home. I remember hearing about her first efforts at employment. When Dad found out she’d secured a job, he marched down to the store where she was working and gently escorted her out. No wife of his would ever work. He was the provider. It was the way it was back then. The story of her one-day job still makes me smile.
They were enjoying retirement in the Rio Grande Valley, their own “Shangrila” as Dad used to call it. He never tired of the warm sunshine. It was where his green thumb thrived. He’d walk me around their half acre like it was a Texas ranch showing off his agriculture. There was a huge Mesquite tree in the center of the yard where my little boys loved to climb when we visited. He pampered beautiful flowering shrubs and numerous citrus trees. How they loved to help pick his bountiful harvest of oranges, grapefruit and lemons! My dad not only planted, he fixed everything. From the car to the washer, he had the answer. After all, he had been a machinist at U.S. Steel in Chicago. Eventually a foreman, Dad retired when he was only 59. My parents couldn’t wait to exchange Chicago winters for the tropical climate of South Texas.
How would Mom take care of it all? How would we all go on without his nurturing, providing, guiding, and loving ways? I stood at the window looking up to God…where does my help come from? I knew where. God had been our refuge in times past. Mom and Dad had taught us where to look. And I was looking up again at that moment.
The bits of fog and smudges on the glass didn’t distract me that day. I was looking beyond the circumstances to a Source higher than life itself.
I remember crying out to God about all the unknowns. It was then I heard a still small voice in the depths of my spirit interrupting my complaints…”But what do you know?”
I was suddenly compelled to sit down and make a list. Long before cell phones or ipads, I found paper and pen in my purse. I began to scribble everything I knew for sure. I had found my lifeline.
I know my Redeemer lives.
I know God works everything out for good.
I know that if God is for me, no one could be against me.
I know that God never leaves me or forsakes me.
I know that the Lord is the Blessed Controller of all things.
Truths I had read about in the Bible were coming to life before me. More than words on a page, they would hold us together and see us through the unknowns. It was if God was saying, “Stand on what you know to be true.” When there are no answers from man. No solutions. No diagnosis. No treatment. Your faith will see you through. Many times since then, I have been reminded of what God spoke to me so long ago. “In the face of all your unknowns, remember what you do know.“
Read Ephesians 6:10-18
1. Name what the belt, breastplate, shoes and helmet represent.
2. What does the shield of faith enable us to do?
3. What is the Sword of the Spirit?
4. What must accompany all of the armor?
Read Hebrews 4:12
5. Describe the Word of God.
Read Jeremiah 23:28-29
6. How do the shield and sword work together? To what else is God’s Word compared?
Like a belt around our waist, truth holds us together. When the father of lies tries to entangle with deception, truth sets us free.
The breastplate of righteousness protects our heart, like the soldier whose vital organs needing shielding from fatal blows. The righteousness of Christ guards our hearts against the accusations and charges of the enemy, securing our innermost being from his attack.
The shoes support our walk of faith, protecting from dangerous obstacles on our path as we engage in spiritual conflict.
The helmet protects the believer’s mind from wrong thinking, enabling us to distinguish between spiritual truth and false doctrine.
Our shield of faith prohibits satan from sowing seeds of doubt about God’s faithfulness and the effectiveness of His Word. Roman warriors used a leather shield soaked in water to put out flame-tipped arrows. These shields also encircled the soldier on all sides. I like to think of my faith as a shield surrounding me, protecting me from the onslaught of the enemy on all sides.
Our only offensive weapon is the Sword of the Spirit, or the Word of God. We wield a powerful weapon by praying and declaring the truths of God than is possible in the physical world. Jesus Himself used the Word to defeat the enemy’s temptations in the desert. That same Word is available to us as well.
Lastly, we are told to pray in the Spirit in addition to wearing the full armor of God. Prayer cannot be neglected. It proves our reliance on God, and without it our efforts at spiritual warfare would be in vain. God has given us tools to be spiritually victorious.
Have you put on your armor today!