James was not kidding. But who could do that? Am I supposed to jump with happiness when something bad happens to me?
Well, maybe. He is not only telling the fellow who finds himself surrounded with adversity how to be victorious over the situation, but he shows him, also, how he will be better for the experience. You have a choice!
According to the Saturday Evening Post of September 1989, football coach Lou Holtz of the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame was famous for his adherence to discipline.
“When it comes to discipline here,” Holtz said, “We ask three questions — Will it make him a better man? A better student? A better athlete? If the answer is yes, we make him do it.”
He said the next step is up to the player.
He added, “Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I'll show you someone who has overcome adversity.”
“An individual has a choice when you discipline him — either to become bitter or better,” Holtz explained.
These are the truths James gives us. Will adversity make you a better and stronger person? Will it give you invaluable experience? Will you choose to “count it joy” and trust God enough that you will be patient while your faith is tried? The result will be victory.
Or will the attitude prevail that “It’s no use.” Nothing but bitterness and defeat will result from “I give up.”
In a study by Victor and Mildred Goertzel, titled “Cradles of Eminence,” backgrounds of some 300 highly successful people were investigated. These subjects had made it to the top — men and women whose names are recognized as brilliant, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Winston Churchill, Albert Schweitzer, Clara Barton and Einstein. Inquiry into their early home lives reveals some surprising findings:
— Three-fourths were troubled either by poverty, a broken home, rejection, or overpossessive and dominating parents.
— Seventy-four of 85 writers of fiction or drama and 16 of the 20 poets came from homes where, as children, they saw tense psychological drama demonstrated by parents.
— Physical handicaps such as blindness, deafness or crippled limbs characterized more than one-fourth of the sample.
How did these people go on, then, to such outstanding accomplishments? They compensated for their weaknesses in one area by excelling in another. They knew the secret of success despite any handicaps or hindrances and “excuse” was not in their vocabularies.
There are three simple truths concerning work: Labor is honorable; idleness leads to poverty; and honest labor is rewarding. Work is a gift of God and is to be appreciated. Good work is a blessing and great rewards come from it — “... may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
On the other hand, idleness for any reason is considered in the Scriptures to be unwise.
We’re told that God provides for the creatures. But, as one man said, “God feeds the birds, but he doesn’t dig his worms.”