I work with accountants. I like accountants; God loves accountants; you should like accountants. They are full of tenacity, many of which are the best examples of Christian kindness you will ever find.
However, accountants will ask you to “code” each transaction. Expenses must be “charged back” or properly identified based on the exact account number already determined for the transaction. Getting closer doesn’t count; for example, writing the account number 482628402974 is not the same as 482628502974.
Accountants also insist on using the double-entry method where each liability has an associated asset counterweight so that both sides of the ledger match the penny.
I like accountants. However, those who are a “sneak peek” or “we’ll find out later” leader often see the accountant as an adversary. Which, at least most of the time, they are not.
Why am I mentioning accountants? Well, these are perfect examples of people who have to make decisions about transactions or “events”. We do this in real life too, quickly labeling anything that happens to us as “good,” “bad,” or somewhere in between.
I get “good” report from the doctor, or I get “bad” news about the performance of my retirement portfolio (and who doesn’t this year?) We also label the seasons of our lives. It was a “bad” year (insert country song; my dog ran away, my truck died…), or it was a “great” year (insert country song played backwards; my dog came home, my vehicle started…)
Over time, I noticed that my initial classification of such events was often wrong. Have you ever looked back with a 20/20 preview; where what you thought God was doing wasn’t really what He was doing?
In James 1:2, Jesus’ half-brother says we should “count” every trial, difficulty, or bump in the road as “joy.” However, there may be no “good” in the event itself. Instead, the joy comes from the promise that God is planning something and will use the event for his ultimate “good”.
Every “trial” we face is part of God’s plan. It builds in us endurance or constancy. This realization should encourage us, for God’s purpose for endurance brings us to completion or perfection in the image and likeness of his son (Romans 8). Trials are a means by which He accomplishes this.
So for the follower of Christ, as “bad” things happen to us, God will ultimately use them for our “good.” In the meantime, we can impute them to the account of “good” or, as James puts it, “joy.”