“Diligently persevere until you feel joy in it.”
~from The Cloud of Unknowing
And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe,
and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day
is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” ~Nehemiah 8:9-10
Recently, I quoted these last words from Nehemiah 8 to a friend who was having a hard time feeling God’s joy that day. I felt like I was preaching to the choir because what I admire most about this friend is the way she faithfully seeks to rejoice in the Lord always as the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. ~Philippians 4:4
She was thankful for the reminder. And I had to ask myself whether I was letting the joy of the Lord be my strength. Am I able to receive each new day as a day holy to the Lord and therefore rejoice?
The author of The Cloud of Unknowing encourages me to not only choose joy but to diligently persevere until joy is felt. I wonder if the author is suggesting a life of worship and rejoicing our way into God’s presence.
On your feet now—applaud God!
Bring a gift of laughter,
sing yourselves into his presence.
Know this: God is God, and God, God.
He made us; we didn’t make him.
We’re his people, his well-tended sheep.
Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him.
For God is sheer beauty,
all-generous in love,
loyal always and ever.
~Psalm 100 (MSG)
May God be glorified with our perseverance and our rejoicing…amen and amen!