In the first chapter of James, James points out that in life we will face trials. No matter how good our lives are, there will be times when we must face difficulty through the death of a loved one, the failing at a particular task, working with difficult people, and various other life circumstances. Trials in life are unavoidable.
James, however, says that we can find joy in these trials because it is through trials that we gain perseverence. Trials strengthen and refine our faith. We find joy amidst trials when we recognize that when we persevere through them that we are made into better and stronger Christians. Joy is not an automatic result of trial, but the only result when trials are approached and responded to rightly. We find joy when we respond to trials without doubt, but with faithful confidence.
To persevere through trials and find joy requires biblical wisdom. We must have spiritual insight into the proper response to the trials we face and we must then have the fortitude to act upon that insight. 10% of life is what happens to us, but 90% of life is how we respond.
A coach does not test his players with practice, running and drills to see if they will fail. He tests his players in order to make them better players. God does not permit trials in our life to see if we will fail, but to increase our faith and make us more committed followers.
Trials are not excuses for sin, but opportunities to better live out the faith we are called to. Through trials we become better representations of Jesus Christ. And that should bring us joy.