"Count it as pure joy my brothers all the trials and tribulations you encounter for they build character." James 1:2-3. At first blush, a nice little proverb such as "Slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God." James 1:19-20. But I think the first point goes much deeper.
In a prior article, I discuss Being Broken or Slaying the Dragon. In my view, this concept plays into that from James 1:2. The ultimate destination of all is return to our father's house (i.e., the return of the prodigal son). Blocking that path home is the dragon, our heinous earthly ego. No one can slay this dragon but ourselves. Luckily, life provides us assistance in this regard. No matter how puffed up we become with our own importance, life has a way of breaking us. In smashing us upon the rocks of life, the trials and tribulations we all encounter loosen the grip of the earthly ego. This is a necessary process all of us undergo. The more we resist, the more pain life inflicts.
And what of those who hunker down in the mud attempting to hide from life's inevitable woes? I think the prologue of Richard Bach's Illusions gave the best analogy. Note: prologue reproduced by permission at bottom of linked page. Those hunkering down fearful of life may avoid going backward but, also, are prevented from going forward. They are the prisoner who refuses to exit his cage after parole has been granted. One may find safety in lock down but the inevitable is thereby delayed. A mother must experience pain to give birth. So each us must bear the pain inherent in tearing back the curtain that separates us from the realization of the fullness of our being.
Brother James, in theory I hear you about joy at the advent of trials and tribulations. But please forgive me for failing to leap enraptured in ecstasy when the miseries of life appear at my doorstep (as they inevitably must). I've learned to bear my burdens in life ... but haven't advanced far enough as yet to do so with a smile.