a simple Immanuel prayer.

Jesus, where are you with me today?

I prayed this with my body shaking, my stomach in knots. He answered with the image of a shield, as I prepared to join the Zoom call. He helped me imagine him between me and those accusing me on the other side of the screen. They would have to get through him to get to me. He would take the worst of their words, the worst of their blows for me. If the Lord is for us, who can be against us?

Jesus, where are you with me today?

I prayed this with bitter tears, feeling ashamed for my recent failings, especially my harsh words at my children. He answered with the image of him cupping my face, inviting me to look into his eyes. When I had the courage to raise my eyes to meet his eyes, there was only love. I had been forgiven the moment I’d asked. He was not keeping record of all my wrongs. His eyes, his smile all spoke to his love for me.

He was so glad to be with me. This me. Not a future, better, less messy me. This me, with tears and repentance and weakness. This was the girl he loved.

Jesus, where are you with me today?

I prayed this with an exhausted spirit, deeply fatigued. He answered with the image of a lamb tucked close to his chest. I imagined leaning my head, resting in the strength of his arms, listening to the calming rhythm of his heartbeat. He whispered words of love over me, no hint of shame for my exhaustion.

I’m so grateful to have been taught this simple prayer this summer, “Jesus, where are you with me today?”

Instead of looking to my feelings to determine if the Lord is present with me, this question assumes he already is with me. It asks for the eyes to see where he is with me, already present, meeting me with his love.

Immanuel.

God-with-us.

I’m astounded every time the Lord answers my question of where he is with me. The truth of a God that draws near, that loves so personally, that took on human form to be with me is utterly miraculous.

May you feel his nearness and love today.

May you experience for yourself, Immanuel, God-with-us.

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