You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips.
For you meet him with rich blessings; you set a crown of fine gold on his head.
He asked you for life; you gave it to him — length of days forever and ever.
His glory is great through your help; splendor and majesty you bestow on him.
You bestow on him blessings forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence.
For [he] trusts in the LORD, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved. Psalm 21:2-7 NRSV
I am thinking today of one of the two most formative people in my life, one who has recently passed from this life, and of some of the things he taught me. Of all the hundreds of things, it is difficult to isolate one, but at this moment at least, I do think I can. He taught me that living God’s life is not one of unremitting effort, but one of joy. It is not meant to be an attempt to climb up a slippery slope to get to God. Rather it is to walk through a succession of doors into ever wider vistas. Holiness is not a series of impossible demands, but an incredible invitation into all we were ever meant to be.
Is effort involved? Of course, nothing worth doing is ever easy. But it is not a grim, teeth-gritting slog. It is the wondering “yes” when he tells you to raise your sails in a dead calm. It is the daring “yes” when you are marooned on a cliff and he shows you that tiny crack in the cliff above your head that is just big enough for you to jam your fingers into and pull yourself up. It is the reluctant “yes” when he says “That way there be dragons.” It is to know that if at some point you say “no,” he is not done with you, but will open up another way. It is to live in wondering joy that in the arms of God you have found yourself. It is to live life as an expression of joy and gratitude and wonder. For holiness is nothing other than to be set free in a wholesome awe of God, a sincere love of God and others, and a glad self-forgetfulness.