"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."The 'all joy' part is where life often begins and sometimes ends ... I often think that joy is only joy when every ounce of our being rails against it ... when we have to fight for joy, not giving in to despair but embracing joy despite the reality of our situations. The Apostle Paul writes these words to those in pain:
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. ... we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son ... What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? ... in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us."A few years ago I was going through a dark place of depression when I some how understood that I was becoming more like Jesus ... God was turning my pain into joy as I realized He was using it to make me like Jesus. The Lord often asks me "Why do you want an easy life?" ... it is a sobering question that goes to the root of our pain. Maybe if we all saw pain and suffering as unwilling vessels in His hands ... molding us ... conforming us into the matchless image of Jesus ... maybe then we would rejoice. You know, it seems that, because of pain, we often reject the very instruments of change ... instead of letting pain do a deep work of change we seem to 'consider it all pain' instead of 'all joy'.
I think that "the glory that is to be revealed to us" is the glory of being like Jesus ... but the cost of being like Jesus is often pain.