By Ernest O'Neill

Trials Bring Us Into Real Joy

By Rev. Ernest O'Neill

James 1:2  is a well-known verse:  “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials.”  Well, I don’t know how often you’ve quoted that verse.  I know the hundreds of times I’ve quoted it verbally and to myself.  “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials.”  It just seems an absolute paradox!  It just seems incomprehensible.  However much you try to encourage yourself to see, “Well, that’s God’s word, you know, and we ought to believe that and that’s the way we ought to think”.  It just seems so – I cannot say the word because it’s his holy word, but it seems so “stupid”.  It seems that can’t be true.  Count it all joy when you meet various trials?  It’s a contradiction! “Trial” means “unhappiness”.  “Trial” means “a lack of joy”.  How can you count it as joy when you enter into various trials?

But do you see that it is God saying so plainly:  “That real joy that is in my Son’s heart is only possible when the trials that you are going through have separated you absolutely and utterly from any hope of happiness in this world.”  For all of us in this earthly world, “trials” mean things that take away from us the normal comforts, or the normal encouragements, or the normal reassurances that we receive from the world.  It usually means the failure, or the absence, or the disappearance of some of the things that we normally depend on.  A financial trial is when we don’t have the money that we need.  A family trial is when family suddenly seems no longer to be our stay, and our strength, and our comfort.  A friendship trial is when you lose a friend.  Normally what we mean by trials, we mean things that take away from us the worldly circumstances, things and people that make life bearable.

God says, “Count it as joy when you come into that situation.  Only then will you be in a position where you are able to hear my Son.  Where you are able to hear my Son speak to you,” and where you are able to suddenly see that HIS joy is the ONLY joy in the whole universe.  You can have that joy only because you are part of him -- part of his heart -- and want to feel what his heart feels and want to experience what he experiences.  Only when you want him as badly as that will his joy begin to be manifested in you.