People see a whole lot of me. From the books that I’ve had published to the times when I get to speak publically to even my constant writing. What I fear people don’t often realize is that I have a team of people behind me making everything I do publically possible. I will name some of those people for you just so they receive some recognition: Don, Stefanie, Brooke, Ed and David, plus the many families in our church who give their time to help in any way they can and a former student of mine who I will hopefully introduce soon as the newest member of the team at christoa.com; and my mom who shares all of my posts. One of my fears is that people only see me and I never want that to be the case because I don’t do anything on my own. The most important member of my team, though, is my wife.

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It was the 2009-2010 winter season and we had been messaging back and forth on Facebook. We decided to meet at a yogurt shop in Lawton, OK where we both grew up. We met (I thought she was odd) and afterwards I took her to her dad’s office there in Lawton. When we got back to our college campus in late January 2010, we started to spend more time with one another (please watch the video above for more detail). In fact, there was a snowpacalypse that got us three weeks out of classes and I know God’s purpose for sending that snow was so that my wife and I could get to know each other! Thanks God!

This was the beginning of a relationship where I would have the deepest kind of love that any person could ever have for another. As I think about this love relationship I have with my wife, I think about the love that God might have for us. As we think about this, we might consider the words of King David in Psalm 62:

 

I am at rest in God alone;

my salvation comes from Him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,

my stronghold; I will never be shaken.

How long will you threaten a man?

Will all of you attack

as if he were a leaning wall

or a tottering stone fence?

They only plan to bring him down

from his high position.

They take pleasure in lying;

they bless with their mouths,

but they curse inwardly. Selah

Rest in God alone, my soul,

for my hope comes from Him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,

my stronghold; I will not be shaken.

My salvation and glory depend on God, my strong rock.

My refuge is in God.

Trust in Him at all times, you people;

pour out your hearts before Him.

God is our refuge. Selah

Men are only a vapor;

exalted men, an illusion.

Weighed in the scales, they go up;

together they are less than a vapor.

Place no trust in oppression,

or false hope in robbery.

If wealth increases,

pay no attention to it.

God has spoken once;

I have heard this twice:

strength belongs to God,

and faithful love belongs to You, Lord.

For You repay each according to his works.[1]

 

When I consider my wife, I can say confidently that there is nothing that I wouldn’t give up to be with her. The author of this Psalm has very clearly come to the conclusion that being with God is worth it no matter what he has to give up on this earth. “If wealth increases,” he says, “pay no attention to it.” As I read this, I have to ask these questions: “Who could love us so much that He would give up everything to have us?” and “Who could I love so much that I would be content to gain nothing in order to be with Him? King David’s answer in this Psalm is obvious: God is worth everything.

I want to share with you a couple things we can know about David from the Israel’s history within Scripture. First of all, he was King of all Israel (2 Sam. 5-8). Second, he started as a shepherd (1 Sam. 16). If we could look at anybody within Scripture and see the American Dream, it’s David. He was the lowliest of men and became arguably the greatest of kings. His kingly line even lasts forever in the person of Jesus Christ. Yet, we see these words as he writes, “If wealth increases, pay no attention to it.” David seemed to know what it was to be poor in this world and he knew what it was to have everything, yet he was willing to give it up in order to belong to God, who is the embodiment of true ever-faithful love.

I want to pick up this idea and drop it like a bomb on Valentine’s Day. On valentine’s day, we celebrate love and commitment in the bonds of marriage and those who are single celebrate singles’ awareness day. I briefly shared the story of how my wife and I met and, reading David’s psalm I think back to what life was before I met her. The fact that I can’t remember not being with her says something good about our relationship. I’m sure that I found some sort of freedom in being single. I could flirt with the ladies, stay up as late as I wanted and budget my money for myself. I will tell you honestly that whatever I gave up to get married to Kathryn Elizabeth Cannon was worth it. I would give up everything I own and my entire life’s work if I had to just to be with her because I love her so much and so unconditionally. Here’s the twist: God loves us deeper than that.

Marinate in that truth for a second. God loves us deeper than that; so deep that when we created human sin and separation from God, God came in the flesh and physically died in our place. The only proper response to this sort of love is complete and utter surrender. All the wealth I have on this earth is nothing when I compare it to God’s great love for me! I hope this is understood, I can’t take it with me anyway. One day I will die and it will be gone, but God’s love remains. The crazy thing is God loves us so much that He promises to reward us for all the sacrifices we make (Mark 10:29-30).

This means that my life’s work. All the books I’ve written and sermons I’ve preached, my position on this earth and all my degrees are null and void in the presence of God. He will reward me for my work here, so it’s worth every effort; but my life’s work will not come with me either. God is the only lover of my soul and I find my identity in Him.

Because of this I find myself making the same claim that David did, “If wealth increases, pay no attention to it.” If status is gained, pay no attention to it. If praise is earned, pay no attention to it. My desire is God and nothing on this earth can possibly compare!

 

[1] Psalm 62:1-11 (HCSB)

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