“Count it All Joy When You Fall into Trials”
The apostle James wrote in his epistle, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces [a]patience” (James 1:2,3). The apostle was teaching that it is the benefit and duty of the believer to have an intelligent Christian philosophy and attitude toward the trials that face him. He needs to understand God’s permissive will in allowing adverse experiences (Job 42:5; Psalm 38:3; 39:9; Matthew 6:13; Romans 8:28). These trials (sickness, persecution, poverty, or tragedy) are sent by the devil to tempt a man to sin, or only to trouble him. They are to test his walk with the Lord.
All Things Work for the Good
The believer can actually be joyful under such circumstances for he “know(s) that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). According to the eternal purpose of God, all things (good and bad) contribute to the well-being of those who love the Lord. Instead of hindering the Christian’s walk with God, these hardships push him forward.
Therefore, at every step, the believer is to submit to the hands of God for he is fulfilling His divine purpose. And nothing can touch the believer except by God’s permission (Job 1:12; 2:6). If God allows pain and trouble to come upon the believer, it is not to break him but to cleanse him (Romans 8:17). The trials and discouragements of this life reveal to man his weak condition and cause him to fully depend on God. And they also cleanse his character as by fire.
Trust in God
The good news is that these troubling times can be easily overcome by those who trust in God. The Bible says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. The prophet Isaiah also wrote, “Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3, 4). Thus, Christian joy and courage are founded, not on outer circumstances—which may be discouraging—but on faith in God’s providence and in an understanding of His good plans for His children.
Too often even the sincerest believer doesn’t understand the reasons for suffering and pain in the building of character, and as a result doesn’t benefit from these trials and thus, make his own way tougher and lose his connection with God. But the Bible reveals that there is no experience in life, however sad, that may not help the believer’s growth. Paul‘s life illustrates how a Christian can turn every failure into victory (2 Corinthians 2:14; 4:8–11; 12:7–10).
So, the believer can gladly endure the trials that face him in faith and hope, “as seeing him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27). He sees God working behind the scenes. As a veteran of war who has faced many dangers is more prepared than a new recruit, so the victorious Christian who has gone through hardships is better prepared to face the trials than the Christian whose faith has not been tested.
Praise in Trials
In order to have active endurance for trials, a Christian must not weaken his mind by murmuring, complaining, or rebelling as did the Israelites in the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:10). Patient endurance will help the Christian produce the character of Christ. When Paul and Silas were severely beaten with wooden rods and imprisoned, they sang praises. So, the Lord sent an earthquake and opened the prison doors (Acts 16:16-34).
God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22: 3). He is pleased when people acknowledge His goodness and mercy. For He has fully revealed His infinite love at the cross when He offered His only begotten Son to save mankind (John 3:16). There is no greater proof for His love than that (John 15:13).
In His service,