I know when I have been in trials, it’s difficult to fathom counting it all joy. But as Christ followers, that’s exactly what we are called to do. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)
Kay Smith tells us in “Reflecting God”: “James isn’t telling us that the trial itself is all joy. But when we look past the trial at all the good things that will result, we can endure the hardship with joy. When you see the words, “count it”, say to yourself, “Think forward, consider or regard it.” If you can look beyond the immediate trial, you will get a glimpse of the wonderful things God will produce through it.”
She reminds us to look to Jesus: “the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”. (Heb. 12:2) She reminds us that “it wasn’t the pain of the crucifixion that would give Jesus joy. It was what the crucifixion would do. Through His suffering, it would bring life to us. And He looked forward to the life we would receive and the victory over Satan. That was the joy set before Him.”
We have the ability to see that good will come through our trials if we keep our eyes on Jesus, and look forward to the results. As we said a couple of days ago, we can bemoan our circumstances, or we can praise the One who has promised to bring us through our trials. It’s all in the attitude we take in the trials.
If we accept them as perfect gifts from the Lord to develop and mature us for His purposes, then we can endure them with joy for the results they will bring. We gain strength to endure trials because we know the Lord is walking through them with us. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6)