Let's say that the entire world, the whole of history, is a story, and lump every little story of every person into one overarching tale that runs Genesis to Revelations. Let's call it God's story. If it's God's story, I have a hard time believing that it isn't the best possible story. Every bit of it builds up to ultimately glorify God more than anything else could have, and if you changed even the slightest detail, it wouldn't glorify Him quite as much and wouldn't be quite as good.
I'm pretty convinced that this is a good way of looking at the world. And what joy should we, as Christians, then have? If every circumstance is ultimately glorifying to God, then we should always be joyful no matter what, because God's glory is what we ought to want most.
But there is evil. There is sin. Is this the best world up with which God can come? (Apologies for sounding elitist. I succumbed to an impish desire to perform grammatical gymnastics. Haha.)
Yes, and no. Obviously this isn't the best world He can make (although this world pre-fall and un-cursed is a different argument, and I don't mean to address it here), but I still say it's the best story. Why? How? I can toss out ideas in answer to that, but I can't really say. It's one of those meaning-of-life-and-the-world questions that one does not simply answer. I think it has something to do with darkness being a foil for the light. I know from experience that it's not the easy times nearly so much as the hard ones that teach me about God. And I wonder if there is any way we could have so clearly seen the power of God's love had there been no obstacles for it to plow through, or understood his justice and mercy without any evil to face.
However it works, I believe God can take evil and use it for good. Everything brings some sort of glory to God, eventually, or else He would not have allowed it. Everything. That is a hard truth. And then I start thinking about how I fit into this equation, and how it affects me. My purpose is to glorify God, however I can, however He has written me. "Whate'er my God ordains is right." Which leads to a really bizarre question: could I accept it if God were most glorified in not saving me, in my ending up in Hell? Obviously I wouldn't recognize that if it were the case, and it obviously isn't the case.
And no, this doesn't slip into hyper-Calvinism or some sort of, "Meh, I'll just live my life, and God will be glorified without my even trying. His glory is all I care about, and that's automatic, so to speak." No. No, because God has commanded us to follow Him. He has commanded us to repent and believe, and has commanded us to seek righteousness. He calls all who will listen. If you hear the call, you're called to it. So I'm definitely not saying our salvation and sanctification don't matter. They do.
What I am saying is that God would deserve our praise just as much if He, in His perfect goodness, did not choose us. If our hearts are in the right place, we will have no ambition but to glorify Him as He should choose.
In light of that, we do what He tells us, and we take the circumstances He gives us and look for the story He's writing. We look for the beauty in the tale, and whether we can see it or not, we trust and we try to find the most epic possible reaction to what we are given. We do what's right and leave the consequences to Him. And we rejoice through trials, through pain, through disappointment, through failure, because neither you nor I nor the whole world cannot impede God's glory. Thus, the most important thing is firm, safe, and invincible.