From a recent sermon:
Count it all joy, my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4
There’s an Arabic proverb that says “ Sunshine alone creates deserts.” There are times when the sunshine fades and the dark clouds roll in and we are hindered from seeing the glory of the sun, but we need that rain to come to keep us living.
That’s what happens when trials come. Everything is going well we have a job, we have our families and friends, we have our health and tragedy strikes, accusations are made, jobs ,homes and possessions are taken from us.
And James here tells us to count it all joy.
The Greek word count is actually an accounting term.
It carries with it a connotation that just as we would count our profits, we should count our various trials/temptations as gains. But that’s not what we do. We tend to mope, have a pity party, dwell on our circumstances or become depressed.
So we should count our trials as joy. That’s crazy! Right?
Should we be happy about the trials and circumstances we get flung into to?
No. But we can have joy in spite of our circumstances. Joy is different from happiness.
Happiness can be stripped away from us in an instant. It’s an emotion based on circumstance.
That’s why sin offers happiness instead of joy. Any indulgence or immorality can provide temporary, momentary happiness but it will not bring joy into our life.
Joy is a state of being. It’s in spite of circumstances, knowing (trusting) that Christ has allowed this circumstance to take place in order to continue to transform you into the person He wants you to be.
It’s faith in God, that He is in control and He is with you during your trials.
We don’t have to be happy about it but we can have joy knowing that in the end, He will bring it to an end.