Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, James 1:2 ESV
Count – “Never confound the trial of faith with the ordinary discipline of life, much that we call the trial of faith is the inevitable result of being alive.” If we take Chambers’ insight seriously, we soon discover that Paul’s statement is at the forefront of our attitude. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” That is the Hebrew equivalent of saying, “Reliability and steadfastness is the result of hearing/obeying and shema comes by obedience to the instructions God gives.” In other words, what we call “faith” is really living according to the code! It’s not what you think. It’s what you do!
Ya’aqov echoes the same instruction. “Count” is the Greek verb hegeomai. It means “to think, to believe, to regard as.” Ya’aqov tells his Jewish readers that they are to consider the trials they face as opportunities for joy. But there is more here than simply encouragement. The noun hegoumenoi is the word for leaders (see 1 Maccabees 9:30, Ezekiel 43:7, Micah 5:1 and Acts 7:10). A characteristic of leadership in the believeing community is regarding trials as joyful expressions of God’s care. Follow those who live according to YHWH’s code of conduct and who demonstrate joyful contentment in the face of apparent difficulites.
If we need a model for such behavior, we can turn to the life of Joseph (whose name, by the way, does not begin with a “J”). The only time in the seventeen years of captivity that Yoseph displayed a lack of trust in the inexplicable engineering of YHWH was the time when he asked the wine taster to remember him to Pharoah. And then he sat in prison for two more years. If there is anything to be learned from the life of Yoseph, it is this: reckoning trials as joy is training in contentment. It has to be learned by experience. There is no shortcut to contentment. It is not the result of prior mental preparation. Contentment, counting trials as joy, comes only in the trial. Contentment is on-the-job training.
Oswald Chambers reminds us that too often we think of life’s ordinary ups and downs as spiritual trials. We forget that just being alive means conflict. We imagine that God will smooth out every bump in the road. But He won’t, and He doesn’t. Why doesn’t He? Because He wants us to become leaders, those who by experience manifest joy in the midst of real trials. YHWH knows that we need the practice and He is more than willing to provide the opportunities. This is attitude training and it is far more important than planning and resolution.
Perhaps today is your day to demonstrate leadership contentment. Perhaps you will be given an opportunity to count!
Topical Index: count, trials, joy, hegeomai, leaders, hegoumenoi, James 1:2
 Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, October 31.