“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, …” – James 1:2 (NASB)
This might not make sense to us. Let’s just be honest first. Trials, tests, difficulties and many things we would rather avoid still come into our lives mostly unannounced. They are uninvited and unwelcome but in today’s passage we are instructed by the Holy Spirit in the letter written by James, the half brother of Jesus, to consider their arrival joyfully. ‘Consider’ may also be translated ‘count’ or ‘evaluate’ which means a willful, purposeful, thoughtful, and conscious commitment to face them with and attitude of joy, and actually with all joy. We are not to split our emotion reaction to trials between a natural disgust and some joy. Only joy, all joy, just as Paul teaches in Philippians to ‘rejoice in the Lord.’ (Philippians 3:1) God brings such tests to prove—and increase—the strength and quality of our faith and to demonstrate its validity. Every trial in our life becomes a test of faith and is designed to strengthen our faith: if we fail the test by responding with a wrong attitude, that test then becomes a temptation, or a solicitation to evil. It’s best to trust God for all things, even the trials that test.