Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879), poet and author of many hymns, among them the well loved “Take My Life and Let it Be,” is said to have written the following regarding Matthew:28:20:
“Some of us fret a good deal about ‘a sense of His presence,’ sometimes rejoicing in it, sometimes mourning because we do not have it, praying for it and not always seeming to receive it…because we are focusing upon the sense of His presence instead of the changeless reality of it. All our trouble and disappointment about it are met by His own simple words and vanish in the simple faith that grasps it. For if Jesus says simply and absolutely, ‘I am with you always,’ what have we to do with feelings about it?…
“Therefore, at this very moment, the Lord Jesus is with you. ‘I am’ is neither ‘I was’ nor ‘I will be.’ It is always abreast of our lives, always encompassing us with salvation. It is a splendid, perpetual now. We have only to believe it and recollect it.
“Is it not too bad to turn around upon that gracious presence and say, ‘Yes, but I don’t realize it!’ Then it is, after all, not the presence but the realization that you are seeking—the shadow, not the substance! Honestly, it is so! For you have such absolute assurance of the reality, put into the very plainest words of promise that divine love could devise, that you dare to make Him a liar and say, ‘No! He is not with me!’ All you can say is, ‘I don’t sense His presence.’ Yet He was there with you while you said it. What must He have thought?
“As the first hindrance to realization is not believing His promise, so the second is not recollecting it. If we are always recollecting, we should be always realizing. But we go forth from faith to forgetfulness, and there seems no help for it. But Jesus himself said that the Holy Spirit should bring all things to our remembrance. Let us make real use of this promise, and we shall certainly find it sufficient for the need it meets.”