Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
The Greek word “consider” can also be translated “count”. It is an accounting term, like when you might count something as an asset rather than a liability. James is not saying that the various trials that we encounter are joyous, they aren’t. They are physically and emotionally painful, frustrating, stressful, and often confusing. You are just walking down the usually uneventful path of life, minding your own business, when suddenly, out of the blue, you encounter something that is not so joyous. The doctor called about something suspicious in your blood work. The bank called and there is a serious problem with you account. Your flight has been canceled. There is an urgent message to call home immediately.
We all encounter various trials, but James writes that the brethren (Christians) should consider it all joy. Why? Because our sovereign God, who loves us, is in total control and will use all of these big and little trials to cause us to grow and mature spiritually; And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who loveGod, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Count it all joy? You do that by not allowing your emotions to cloud the reality of God’s sovereign love. Our old friend and Bible teacher Larry Wright used say, “Don’t let your ‘feeler’ override your ‘thinker’. Yes, it is irrational and seemingly foolish to count trials all joy, that is unless you know that God is in control and working all things together for good for His children. Even Jesus counted His impending physical, emotional and spiritually painful death to be joyful knowing it was God’s plan of redemption for us believers; fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)
One more thing. Don’t expect that you will always learn God’s plans and reasons for your trials this side of heaven;For we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).