There is a third reason we should have joy in trials and that is the fact that the turmoil of life serves to display God’s majesty and might. In other words, the rugged road of the difficult life itself proclaims the glory of God.
When Job was confronted by God near the conclusion of his tribulation, he did not receive gentle words of encouragement. Instead, God forcefully proclaimed His own power and might. Now, the typical interpretation of the story is that Job was never given an explanation for the difficulties he faced. May I strongly suggest this is not so. Job did in fact receive a reason for his trials and tribulations: like everything else in creation, Job’s experiences proclaimed the glory of God. Thus God’s recitation to Job of some of the things in His realm which proclaim His own glory.
We tend to forget one way God’s majesty is made evident is in His confounding the lives of men (Ex. 9:16, Deut. 32:39-43, 1 Sam. 2:4-10, Rev. 5:8- 14, 6:1-ff) – all the more so when it is His own people who face tribulation (Ps. 66:8-12, Is. 48:9-11, John 11:4, 2 Cor. 12:7-10, 1 Thess. 1:6-7). This is true whether we can see any purpose in it or not. We need to understand the point of God’s words to Job; Job in the midst of his tribulation (along with the other things God proclaimed as signs of His magnificence), was an expression of God’s power and glory. That was the purpose behind Job’s trials. God didn’t say He allowed calamity in Job’s life in order to produce patience and character. God didn’t say the purpose in the trial was to magnify Job’s weakness and proclaim God’s strength. No, the purpose was simply to manifest God’s omnipotence. And for the believer that is reason enough for joy. Indeed, it is the best reason for joy.
Of course, on this side of the cross we have the benefit of Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. That being the case, we know that even when the purpose behind calamity is to manifest God’s might, we still benefit personally. Romans 8:28-29: And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Thus Christ’s elect can rest assured every trial and tribulation is used by God to form us and shape us according to His son’s image. At times, this is difficult to accept – in reality impossible to accept except by faith. Nevertheless, it is true and therefore a reason for joy in trials.
No one ever said it is easy to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” Yet as we come to understand the reasons for joy in trial our willingness to submit to this truth should increase. At the very least it will assure us we serve a God who loves us enough to show us how reasonable it really is to have joy in the midst of trial.