"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." James 1:2-3 ESV
What a way to start a letter! "Greetings! Be happy when you face trials, from it you will learn to hang in there." James wastes no time on pleasantries but gets down to the brass tacks of living life in Christ. His no-nonsense, straight forward message is to an early church faced with trials.
James wanted to assure them, and us, there is a purpose in the trials and temptations. Perhaps while not readily evident to us at the time, it is through the building of our faith, we learn to place our reliance on God. Knowing that God will deliver us, and in this, we can count it as joy. James continues with, "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (v 12)."
Our most awesome and gracious God, we give you our thanks and praise. While none of us enjoy facing trials and temptations, in them, we have an opportunity to build our faith in you. We know that you will deliver us, and in that knowledge come joy. Thank you for the promise that one day we may receive the "crown of life." As we face the challenges this day, please help us remember you are with us in every situation and wholly place our faith in you. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.