Recently, I’ve found myself mediating upon Matthew 28:20, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” As I studied this passage, I learned that there is an expectation of instruction embedded within the verse, and a promise of Christ to be with us always. I cannot fully express how comforting that is to me, particularly when I am being challenged by situations and people whereby it would seem ridiculous for God’s presence to show up. The Word tells us that He is not an author of confusion, but we can place our faith on the line and believe without hesitation that He is right there with us ensuring that we are not consumed in the chaos. However, when facing insurmountable circumstances, it’s just like God to add emphasis and affirmation. He knows us so well, that He took great pleasure to add “even.” Why? Well, I would suggest that it was out of love.
There are a few verses I learned as a child that stuck with me. One was the 23rd Psalm, and another was John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” Yet, the enemy and his imps are so busy seeking who they can sift as wheat, that one often feels more perish than life. As such, God took the liberty and added an even in Matthew 28:20. When “always” doesn’t seem to capture every issue imaginable, isn’t it just like God to provide just a small burst of hope to encourage us on the journey? When we assume that things can’t get any worse, and when we don’t appear to have any more energy to go on, we are reminded that He is with us even until the end.
He won’t bail on us. He won’t be too busy tending to other matters and neglect us. As a matter of fact, He has the ability to be all up in my business and yours simultaneously. Further, He makes certain that everyone is covered, or as we said growing up, “even stephen.” When we hear the word even, it implies equality and balance. One definition of even stated without surface irregularities! Glory to God! That means it does not matter what man believes in terms of fairness, nor should we believe a carnal representation of “even” because in God, his presence with us always and even until the end assures our victory. Our victory may not always look as what we hoped, but it is guaranteed to be for our best. Through Christ we have everything we need. We are recipients of his grace, even in hardness; we are assured his love, even in sin; we are granted his presence, even in silence; and we are loaded with benefits daily, even in famine. In God, no matter what we face, we are even stephen, or in my case for personalization, even Stephanie.
Even when things do not feel even Stephen, we must stand upon Psalm 34:9, “Fear the LORD, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing.” This verse admonishes us to fear the Lord as opposed to circumstances, people, the enemy’s handiwork, etc. For in the final analysis as I’m told my father would say, when we fear the Lord in exchange, which means reverencing Him, being obedient to Him, loving Him, and taking Him at his Word, we will have all we need! We can rest in even stephen before a battle emerges because we have Christ on our side jabbing on our behalf. In fact, when you consider the concept, its quite amazing. All we are expected to do is operate in faith as God gave his only Son for us. My children are everything to me. I cannot imagine sacrificing either of them for someone’s sin and it being called even! In the case of salvation, quiet as its kept, God came up short….all for love, love for us, his creation. The least we can do is not fight Him and instead allow Him to be in control of our lives, our thoughts, our plans, our hopes and our dreams. Through it all, God is completely comfortable with always, but just because He knows we may need a reminder every now and then, He added “even,” and I’m so glad He did. Go ahead and be the odd person we were commanded to be and allow God to be even.