“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials…”
The degree of our joy in trial is “all.” We should see no trial that comes into our lives as an exception. God places all trials into our lives for a purpose. Instead of complaining about our troubles, we rejoice in them from a total point of view. Christians should not divide life into enjoyable and not enjoyable experiences. Everything that comes into our lives as Christians is a point of joy.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto 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” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
The fundamental orientation of a believer in a trial should be joy.
It is important to distinguish “joy” from happiness. Happiness depends on positive circumstances to happen to us. “Happiness” comes from a root that means circumstance. “Happen” has the same root as “happiness.” When we face severe circumstances, we cannot be happy because the circumstances are not good. However, we can have joy in adverse circumstances because we know that God has a plan for our lives. Joy is the inner animation of our soul, independent of circumstance and situation. We have no regrets because we know we are in God’s plan.
The trial in itself is no joy, but knowing that God’s sovereign hand put it into my life is a joy.
“So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41).
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory…” (1 Peter 1:6-8).
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12-13).