“God has given me a cheerful heart, and he will surely pardon me
if I worship Him cheerfully.”
Do you know who said these words? Many are familiar with Haydn’s music, but it is little known that, before his talent was recognized, his life was filled with struggles.
When Joseph was just a boy, his parents recognized his love for music and sought to develop his skill. A distant relative offered to teach him music, but little did Joseph realize how difficult this would be–his relatives were stern; they flogged him and often deprived him of food. But this did not deter him.
Eventually Haydn was given the opportunity to sing in Vienna’s renowned St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Two years later, after pouring his soul into this endeavor, he was penniless. Still determined, he made a promise: “I will never give up.” In due course Haydn received the support of a countess and went on to became the world famous composer we admire today.
In all of this, Haydn never allowed his success to fill him with pride. Toward the end of his life, he was carried into an orchestral hall, too weak to walk. There he listened to the performance of his famous Creation oratorio. In the grandeur of the moment, as the crowds applauded, Haydn “simply pointed upwards and devoutly exclaimed, ‘The music came from above–from God.‘”
May it be with us that, after we have persevered and labored heartily before the Lord, we might say with the psalmist, “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory” (Psalm 115:1).