Have you ever had the bottom drop out of life? Suddenly and without warning, one problem after another comes tumbling into your life. And then when it seems completely hopeless, like there is no way out, everything improves.
Why does God allow calamities into our lives as Christians? Why does God allow tragedy into the life of the believer? Why do experience trials? James addresses these questions in the first chapter of his epistle. But the first thing he tells us is, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials" (verse 2).
What kind of thing is that to say to someone who is suffering? And what does it mean? Is it like saying to someone who is going through really hard times, "Don't worry, be happy"? Is that what James is saying? Yes and no. He encourages us to rejoice. But there is a reason for what he is saying.
James is not suggesting that we should necessarily be experiencing some all-encompassing emotion of joy or happiness in our times of hardship. Nor is he demanding that we must necessarily enjoy our trials in life. James is not saying that trials themselves are a joy, because usually they are not. But yet James says, "Count it all joy." He is saying, "Make a deliberate and careful decision to experience joy in your troubles and trials." It is not easy, but it is possible.
You see, there are lessons to be learned during times of trial. And there are lessons that can only be learned through times of trials. Just remember, they won't last forever.