"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds" (James 1:2)
Hmm, "trials" and "all joy"? These two words seem to go together like "military intelligence" or "jumbo shrimp"! How can we possibly be expected to count trials as joyful? And yet this is how the Apostle James begins his letter. Is this a cruel joke or some sort of pumped-up positive thinking? Or is James on to something? Maybe this great man of God knows something we don't?
What exactly would have to be true for us to count trials as "all joy"? What would we have to believe in the core of our being to make this a reality? To find joy in trials we have to know two things about the Lord:
1. God is in control. Only a sovereign God could orchestrate the seemingly chaotic events of life in such a way as to be for our good. If the trials of life are merely random setbacks, them we have cause for despair and frustration. But if a sovereign God has actually sent us the trials, then we can know there is reason and purpose behind suffering.
2. God is good. A demented master might take glee in the sufferings of his subjects, but a benevolent Lord only does what is good for his people. James refers to God as "the giving God" who gives generously to all without reproach (1:5). Because God is good, all the trials that come our way end up in our favor, even if the process is painful.
God has a good purpose behind the trials he sovereignly brings to us. And our all-powerful God will cause all things to work for good.
So pray for the wisdom to see his hand in all your struggles and watch God develop endurance, maturity, wholeness, purity, hope, and yes, joy in your life!
The well wisher of your soul's happiness,
p.s. Please check out the resources on our website for finding joy in tough times!