Count It All Joy

James 1:2 says, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” That sounds like a strange way to think about trials.

To be sure, you do not experience trials as joy. You’re no masochist. Our trials are trying, our pains are painful, and the verse does not say otherwise.

However, something big has changed. One of the most immediate implications of what was demonstrated with the resurrection is that your troubles can only go so far. Life is eternal. Death, which is the worst trouble and the wellspring of all trouble, has been revealed to be finite. Death is limited. That means your troubles are even more limited still.

Thus, every sorrow and every pain will sooner or later come to an end—perhaps in this world, perhaps beyond it. Either way, you will stand on the other side of that trial experiencing the joy of being done with it, the joy of again being completely you, albeit now with the added understanding of knowing all of what that trial consisted of and what your getting through it was really about.

Jesus said we would suffer in this world (John 16:33), so the fact that we do suffer is no surprise. And a line of scripture offering joy is no remedy—no switch by which the pain of our hurts can be shut off.

But do recognize the profound inversion that has now turned things right-way-up. Philosophers ask for the meaning of life. That question amounts to mere whistling in the dark. Jesus answered the real question: the meaning of death. Death and its associated miseries and troubles have been revealed to be only a blight, only a shadow, only a stain that will wash away. Death can never reach as far as life will reach. Therefore, the way forward is always and necessarily the way toward joy.

[31 Days of James]