Jesus warns us that trials will come. Paul said these trials are a necessary experience, given the corruption of human nature and the Lord’s redeeming work in us. Peter said these trials would prove that our honesty about dependence is more precious than gold. And James tells us to count it all JOY when trials overtake us, not because of the trials themselves but because of how the trials must serve our lives according to the will and genius of God.
Trials press us back into honesty about dependence. Trials reveal the limitations of our human nature while raising our consciousness of God’s nature of love and grace. Joy comes from knowing how the trials are going to work out for us. We know and grow in appreciation for how Jesus endured all trials for us and rose from the dead. We know that God makes all things work together for good. We know that the Word of God cannot fail and that our souls have been regenerated and are sustained by that same Word of God.
Count it all joy, indeed, by counting the various ways by which God makes this momentary light affliction work for us (read all of 2 Corinthians 4-5).