Links Daily Devotional

Will I Succeed?, Part 8

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. (Joshua 1:8, NASB)

In the May 14 reading from his beloved devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers wrote of developing habits that train us in the art of “enjoying the disagreeable”—that is, of embracing adversity.

The night before Gary Player won his first major, the 1961 Masters, he was reading Thomas à Kempis’ writings on adversity. He carried the words of Philippians 4:13 in his pocket that day, looking at them frequently.

What Gary learned from à Kempis helped him win his first U.S. Open. That was 1965. Disaster struck on the seventieth hole. Suddenly a three-shot lead with three to play was wiped out when he double bogeyed. Walking to the tee box on the seventy-first hole, he said to himself, “This will see what kind of a man I am.”

Gary had developed this “habit” of looking at adversity not as a crushing blow but as a challenge before him.

He gathered himself, made two pars and won the next day in an 18-hole playoff. He told me this story later that month, and I thought he seems to have enjoyed that moment. I saw something similar this year at the Atlanta Athletic Club during the PGA Championship.

When Keegan Bradley started the third round at this year’s PGA with a double-bogey, I thought we might not see him on television again. But he bounced back and at the end of the day was only a shot out of the lead. He fell behind the last round due to the superb shot-making of Jason Dufner, but fought back again with an eagle on twelve.

But like Gary Player, apparent disaster struck on the long par-3 fifteenth. He bladed his chip shot across the green into the water and made a triple bogey. Dufner also bogeyed, but Bradley fell four shots back with three to play.

Bradley played the next three holes—probably the toughest stretch of golf on Tour—in 2-under, as Dufner played them at 2-over, then went on to win in a playoff.

Bradley had said in his interview Saturday night, “The major thing I tried to do this week was under react to everything, whether it was a good thing or a terrible thing.”

After his triple bogey, Keegan chose to get his mind on what was ahead of him not behind him. He could have felt sorry for himself and it would have been easy to think, “I blew it. My chance to win is gone.”

Chambers says, “If we give way to self-pity and indulge in the luxury of misery, we remove God’s riches from our lives…No sin is worse than the sin of self-pity, because it removes God from the throne of our lives, replacing Him with our own self-interests.”

My wife, Lorraine, often reminds me as she does herself, “If I make something a mountain it becomes a mountain. Make what seems like a mountain a molehill and it will become a molehill.”

The way we view adversity can make the difference between failure and success. Misery and joy. We learn to make mountains into molehills by choice. It’s a habit that can be made.

God created us in His image, gave us gifts and talents. And opportunities.

He does what we can’t do, but as He told Joshua in preparing him to lead: “You will make your way prosperous…”

Jim Hiskey

August 17, 2011

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