"Count it all joy my brethren when you meet trials of various kinds." -James 1:2
James 1:2 says to count it all joy when you meet trials, but what about the next verse? "for you know that the testing of the faith produces steadfastness." We can go through trials for various causes. Some of them are self-inflicted. If you spread rumors about someone, and they catch you on it, then you will have some hard times, and they will definitely be self-inflicted. But not always. In John 9, Jesus came across a blind man, and in verse 2 we see that his disciples asked him who had sinned in order to cause him to be blind, him, or his parents? In verse three He gives His response, saying, "Is was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in Him." Sometimes we don't suffer because we did anything wrong, but so that we can take it to show others the glory of God. "Blessed are those who are persecuted for my name's sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:10)
Not only this, but we can also look to Jesus as an example in this. Jesus was perfect. Hebrews 4:15 says "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." And yet, we see in Isaiah 53:3, where He was called the man of sorrows, and it says that He was acquainted with grief. If we believe that every trial comes as a cause of sin, then does that mean that Christ was imperfect? What if Jesus had asked, "Why me?" when on the cross? What if he had asked, "What have I done to deserve this?" In fact, the funny thing is that Jesus did not once ask, "What have I done to deserve this?" and He didn't, but we have sinned and are deserving of hell, and yet whenever we have a bad day, we still ask that very question. We were lost in our sins until He saved us (Ephesians 2:1), and yet we still believe that we shouldn't have a single bad thing happen to us while He had to suffer the death on the cross? Not to sound like a downer, but why do we feel so entitled to an easy life?
I don't say all of this to guilt you. I don't say this to make you want to go out of your way to make your suffering worse. That's not at all what we should do. Yes, I will admit: life stinks sometimes. I'm not stranger to this fact. But I say these things to remind you that we still have hope. Because if we are faithful even through these trials, and if we still believe and are obeying by the time we die, then we will have to comfort and rest that we have been striving for. "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:4) Does that not sound so wonderful? Every bad thing, every horrible thing, will have passed.
Today I would like to encourage you to remember that your trials don't mean that you're doing something wrong, but that they are simply just a part of life. And like we see in James 1:2-3, we should take those iniquities and turn them into steadfastness. And remember that this is only a short while, and that it'll all be over soon.