Trials and Joy

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,

James 1:2

the-countLike most kids who grew up in the 1970’s, I watched a lot of Sesame Street. One of my favorite characters on that classic children’s television show was Count von Count. The Count loved counting things. Wikipedia says, “The Count loves counting so much that he will count anything and everything, regardless of size, amount, or how much annoyance he is causing the other characters. In Season 6, for instance, he once prevented Ernie from answering a telephone because he wanted to continue counting the number of times the telephone rang. Another time, while serving as an elevator operator, he refused to let Kermit the Frog get out at his selected floor so he could count every floor in the building.”

When I say that I watched a lot of Sesame Street, I’m talking an insane amount. I know . . . it’s a problem. I don’t remember Count von Count ever counting trials.

Can you picture it?

“One trial (My child just told me they hate me) . . . Two Trials (My work-life is falling apart) . . . Three trials (I have more bills than money at the end of the month) . . . Four trials (My parents are ill) . . . Five Trials (My car just broke down) . . . ah ah ah 5 wonderful trials!”

No, Count von Count never counted trials.

When James told his readers to “count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,” he wasn’t using the word that we think of as mathematical counting. Many Bible translations use the words, “Consider it joy,” at the beginning of the verse.

Do you consider your trials to be a joy?

I know that “joy” isn’t the first word that comes to mind when I have a trial.

But, when I see God work through my trials for His glory and my growth, I can truly be joyful – even in the midst of the struggle.

So many of the trials in my life have been the exact things that I needed in my life to become the man that God has made me today. James talked about the trials that God brings into our lives as “various trials.”

Can you relate?

Many are the types of trials that each one of us will face in life.

He also uses the tender term, “my brothers.” Aren’t you glad that we don’t have to go through trials alone? James could count his trials as joy, in part, because they helped him grow closer to God and others. When you live in community with other people, trials can truly be a blessing.

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