Tone Series with Kurt Kandler
Documented by Lisa Larson
what do the words ‘so worth loving’ mean to you?
When I think of “So Worth Loving”, I think of my wife Erika. She is so worthy... but, worth what? The word ‘worth’ implies a value. A cost. Worth implies that something of value must be compared, measured, evaluated, and exchanged. Is it worth it? Is she worth it? To love unconditionally means I subordinate what is important to me – what I value – for her, without expectations for a return. She is so worth loving.....despite the risks–the risk of hurt, disappointment, and disillusionment. She is so worth loving......despite her shortcomings. Shortcomings that are more than simply observed, but real and impact me personally. She is so worth ‘it'...... ‘it’ being the price one pays when giving all of oneself to someone with imperfections. She is so worth loving...... because all of her brokenness... her frailty... her fears... her weaknesses... they do not define her. She is fearfully and wonderfully made. Her kindness, her beauty, her courage, her patience, her faith... these are what define her. She is so worth loving......because her love for God, her identity in Christ shines like a light even when no one is looking. She is so worth loving.….because her grit and determination are surpassed only by her beauty and elegance. For me, it’s hard to comprehend God’s love for me. How can I be worth it? I must disappoint Him constantly. I ignore Him. I leverage Him when I need Him and disregard Him when I don’t. I’m wicked, judgmental, and prideful. How could He possibly feel that I am worth all the trouble? But I’ve come to understand God’s love for me through the love I have for Erika and my children. My love for them is, in fact, unconditional. It’s amazing to think that God’s love for me is the same. Despite all the reasons why loving me makes no sense, He does. To Him, I am so worth loving. Amazing.
when you hear the words dark and light, what comes to mind?
The terms ‘light ’and ‘dark’ describe polar opposites – good and evil...joy and sadness. I refer to the season of my life where I experienced some of our most significant trials as the “dark times”. A time where nothing –seriously, nothing – went right. It was a wilderness walk; wandering aimlessly in the hopes of finding something positive. Personally, professionally, relationally, financially...nothing worked. In my dark times, try as I did, I couldn’t see a way out. Just when I thought I might be turning a corner, I was hit with more bad news, more setbacks, another failure. Dark is the absence of light. Dark times feed on themselves. They are empty, lonely, and feel perpetuating. The only way to find light in the midst of the dark times is to surrender to the light, not the darkness. Allow the light in…
did you find God in the middle of a dark season?
I thought I was a believer during the dark times. I was going to church, in a men’s Bible study, my kids were in a small Christian School. I thought I was “walking the walk”. At the lowest point, when I realized – I mean, truly realized –that life was spiraling out of control and I had no answers, I also realized that there is a defining difference between declaring that Jesus is Lord and allowing Him to Lord over your life. It was at that moment that I surrendered–truly surrendered. I prayed for peace. I confessed that my way wasn’t working and asked that He simply tell me the next right thing to do. I would do that and then trust Him with the results.
what did you learn about his love for you at that time?
I learned that despite all my brokenness, my prideful controlling nature, my insecurities, my anger...despite my messiness, my mistakes, and my selfish nature...He is patient. He is kind. He is forgiving (amazingly). And He definitely loves me. (I gotta believe that He’s laughing, and shaking His head a lot, but He definitely loves me.) His love manifests in very real, very palpable ways – specifically, the love I experience for and from my wife. It manifests in the peace that I have during very difficult times. In the confidence, I have in knowing that if I just do the next right thing, He can be trusted with the results. And lastly, that He doesn’t want anything from me, but He wants something for me.
what would you tell the next generation about God?
There is a ‘story’ that you believe to be true. Each of us has a ‘story’ (many stories actually) that we believe to be true. And that story – that perceived truth – drives the choices we make. Those choices drive the actions we take. And those actions have more to do with your quality of life – whether you thrive or not – than anything else, including your circumstances. So...what story do you believe to be true? Not what story do you ‘want’ to be true...not what story you feel ‘should’ be true...but what story is actually true? There’s too much at stake to believe the lies that the world is telling you. Lies like, you’re not good enough. You’re not pretty enough. There is no God. We’re just evolved animals. Truth is relative. People are inherently bad. The truth is that God does exist. He created the world with order. He loves you and created you for a purpose. You have responsibilities – to yourself, your family, to your environment. Make the right choices that are rooted in truth. In times of confusion, despair, conflict, uncertainty...just do the next right thing and trust Him with the results.