I have been taking a very slow walk through the book of James. Coming to it nearly a verse per day! Though my personal time is at James 1:4 right now, I am still thinking a lot about 1:2.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds."
A stronger look at the word "trials" has revealed more than ever really noticed before. It comes from the Greek word pierasmos and it means "putting proof to". It is a sense of testing...it is a sens of temptation. Some translations actually read 'temptations'.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters when you face temptations of many kinds."
Now we cannot get too far away to forget the sense we originally understood of trials being similar to the difficulties, struggles, and tensions we face and here and now. These are suffering! We are not to think the author did not mean suffering or trials.
What we need to understad is that our suffering is temptation.
When we face trials, struggles, difficulties, and suffering, we are being tempted. We are facing pierasmos. We are being put to proof.
Regardless of the circumstances, when we are tempted, we are not sinning. It is when temptation places in front of us a decision whether or not to obey God's command's and we choose not to that we sin.
Now again, remember, our suffering is temptation.
When we are suffering, we are faced with a decision. We may choose to obey God's command in response to our suffering (which is to choose joy) OR we can choose sin and disobedience (which would be bitterness, anger, pity, etc.).
Each moment we face suffering or trials, we are being tempted, and we would do well to look to God and his Word for wisdom in what reactions and decisions to make in those moments.
It is not easier a temptation to face than lust, greed, or pride.