I am With You Always
I was kindly asked to give spiritual direction at a college silent retreat. I knew some of these students had never experienced spiritual direction before, so I brought a fun prayer activity if they felt open to trying it.
I read Matthew 28:16-20 through slowly twice. I asked each directee to listen to the words and pick out a word or phrase that resonated with them most in that moment. Then with paper and crayons, they could write out the word(s) and decorate it, they could draw a picture, or whatever came to them.
Most of them resonated with the Apostles having doubt, but doing what Jesus told them to do anyway. I had one get into the word "behold." I had another focusing in on what it means to be a disciple. What stuck out to me that day was "I am with you always."
I read Matthew 28:16-20 five times in the course of a few hours, and "I am with you always" kept jumping off the page for me. With my last directee of the retreat, I decided to draw the words out with a lantern so I could remember to pray with that in the upcoming week.
Before my drive back, I stop at the restroom and fill up my water bottle. I walked to the lobby to catch up with a few old friends and then I was set for my travels back home. However, I forgot my fuel for the trip. I had to go back to grab my coffee, which was sitting on the table in a little lobby area outside of the bathroom. I walked back to grab my coffee, and I see this beautiful cross hanging on the wall. It was metal with lacquered colors to make a stained glass structure pop. In the center was face of Jesus with a halo around it. In the halo were tiny words that I had to squint to read.
"I am with you always"
I just so happened to forget my coffee next to this cross with the Bible verse I had been praying with all day. There is no coincidence; God loves showing His face in unexpected moments at unexpected places.