I was born in Tallahassee, Florida August 6 1959 to O. Michael and Sandra Lynn Cannon. My full given name is Jon Michael Cannon. My Dad was finishing up his undergrad at Florida State University and my Mom was an aspiring actress. I was blessed to return to my humble beginnings this past weekend. It was Homecoming at Florida State and my Dad and younger brother, Marc, had planned a trip to Tallahassee. My Dad had not considered me for the trip because I am a Gator fan. But, as fate had it, God wanted me there.. a return to my earthly beginning. I say earthly beginning because the Bible says that God knew us before we were born.
4 The word of the LORD came to me, saying,
5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
God knew us before we were born and He prepared works for us to walk in before we were even born.
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
If you have been reading this blog, you know that I have been reading books by John Eldredge. John speaks about receiving our “spiritual name”. I was moved by this idea and began asking God what my spiritual name is. I had been asking for about a month before God gave me His answer. On my way to Tallahassee I was struggling to get into the flow of the Spirit. Distance driving is a great opportunity to get quiet and press into the Lord. Charleston to Tallahassee is about a six hour drive and it took just over half of that time to get freed up to really worship the Lord. In my last post I spoke about my desire to have conquering faith. During the first part of my trip I was wrestling about this faith and what it would take to walk in it. When I hit Route 10 on the West side of Jacksonville I had my answer. The Lord told me that it was praise for what God was going to do. That I needed to praise Him in advance of His action. Scripture is full of examples of this.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
As I started praising Him I had a breakthrough of faith and a revival of praise. I was driving down the road clapping and singing and raising my hands. Don’t worry, I was being careful to not get in an accident. I was the first to arrive in Tallahassee, so I got settled into our hotel and waited for my Dad and brother.
Friday morning came early. God awoke me at around 4 to tell me my spiritual name.
I awoke to “Your name is Jonathan”! Now, I must explain something about my name. As long as I can remember my name has been an irritation to me to some extent. I have had to tell people over and over again…. it is not John but Jon. And no, it is not Jonathan, it’s just Jon. Just Jon, Just Jon, Just Jon! I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have said that in response to the question, ” Is Jon short for Jonathan?”
Fast forward to 2010 and God is telling me my name really is Jonathan! And he chose to tell me in the city where I was born. As I was praying about this post I did a search on the web for what the name Jonathan means. It is a Hebrew name that means “Gift of God”. I am reminded of Jonathan, King Saul’s son who was David’s closest friend. Jonathan was a fine warrior and a Godly man. He was humble, faithful and fiercely loyal. He had a gift of encouragement which he used time and again to strengthen David. Jonathan was very wise, knowing how to respect and love His father while being a faithful friend to David, whom Saul wanted dead!
As I consider all this in relation to my story, I can’t help but notice some correlations to my story and that of David’s. Now, let me stress that I am not exalting myself to David’s status. I know he was referred to as “a man after God’s own heart”. But, I am reminded that God is calling each of us to a story that is “bigger than we can imagine”! Just like David who was a humble Shepard boy, He wants to take us from our humble beginnings and do great things through us.
In reading David’s story, and the stories God has given us of saints and sinners who have gone before us, I remember that God told David he was going to be king before it happened. It was like God in His love and mercy told David ahead of time what He could look forward to and then allowed him to go through a refining period that would make him a man of God. David was literally running for his life! Many of his psalms were written during his darkest hours. When he was tested to his very core and learned to trust God when things looked their bleakest. He traveled through the refiners fires and came out the other side as a man after God’s own heart.
David’s story encourages me as I wait for the fulfillment of God’s word to me. While I wait, He continues to refine me and make me into a man of God. I know I have so much to learn but He is so patient, loving and faithful. For He promises to finish the work He began in us when we came to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5
23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Lord, thank-you for my name! Help me to walk this out and live as a gift of yours to those you have called me to. I am your son and your servant. I praise you and thank you in advance for the works you have prepared for me to walk in. Help me to walk in the present, taking one day at a time! Trusting in your love and timing. Help me to be a fierce warrior knowing that I have many enemies to fight and battles to win by your power and for your glory. In Jesus name. Amen