No Weapon (Devotional Blog) / by Shanelle Gabriel

This past Sunday, something in me wanted to go to church. That doesn't sound like an epiphany to many people (it shouldn't to me; I grew up going to church every week), but with the groggy weather and the warm bed, it's amazing that I opened my eyes on time to get ready. I decided to go to Christian Cultural Center which is, like, 10 minutes away from me. I was up early enough for the 8:30am service but opted for the 10:45. I got there early enough to get a seat and start my Fearless: A Six Week PlanΒ devotional before service started. It reflected on Matthew 14:22-33 where Jesus sent the disciples away on a boat, into an insane storm. It asked me to reflect on my personal storm at the moment. I thought of how much I've been missing my mother, my reoccuring battle to get off of the Prednisone I take for my Lupus, thinking about my brother-in-law not being here for my sister and nephews, and all the other elements I'm fighting to stay afloat in...It's a storm alright. The devotion asks if I've thought about why I'm going through all of this. I just want to know why it couldn't have just drizzled; why did the storm have to pour and toss my ship around....

The devotion asks if I've ever considered that "the Lord would not only allow me to head straight for a storm but might have sent me right into it". No, I hadn't. Suddenly my friends Kel & Flo arrive and sit next to me. They just happen to have come to the same service as I did. Just then, the service starts.

The band begins to play a seemingly familiar tune. I almost fall out of my chair. Fred Hammond, my absolute favorite gospel artist (ever since Commissioned) comes out singing "Let the Praise Begin." I whisper to Kel, "What's the chance of him being here on the ONE day I decide to come to church and at the exact service that I decide to attend?" Kel just smiles. I feel like it's just affirming that I'm on the right path, I'm listening to the right voice.

Every song Fred Hammond sings, I sing along with him: "This is the Day," "Glory to Glory," and more. I'm feeling so moved and revived. He finally goes into "No Weapon." I wonder if he watched Ray Lewis from the Baltimore Ravens say that text and chose to add that to his set, but I know in my heart it was something deeper that led him to select that song. Fred's silvery voice fills the room:

No weapon formed against me/ shall prosper/ It won't work/ God will do what He said He will do/ He will stand by His word/ He will come through...

Fred pauses for a moment and the music breaks. He begins to speak. He says, "There's a reason the Bible says NO WEAPON. It's because God knows there will be weapons targeted and aimed at you. That's not a surprise. It's a fact. But God said that no matter what, it will not prosper." I have a moment. I break out my journal:

"God sent me through this storm because I'm supposed to go through storms. Just like the weapons pointed at me, I should expect them. I'm asking God why me, when really, it's why not me? It's a fact that we are supposed to have trials, but we will NOT stay there."

My friend Kimone once told me (and I totally ignored him), "After this, you're going to have grown-up faith." I understand now. If I can have peace through this storm, if I can have all of these attack rifles and missle launchers pointed at me and still walk out of it, even CRAWL out of it, there's nothing I won't be able to face.

Affirmation is a POWERFUL thing...